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The AVMA has been honored by the American Society of Association Executives with a Silver Award in the 2020 ASAE Power of A Awards for the entry “AVMA COVID-19 Resource Center.”

The online resource center found at avma.org/coronavirus launched on Feb. 28 and is continuously updated with evolving COVID- 19 information, tangible practice resources, business guidance, well-being support, and relevant interpretations of legislation and relief programs. The AVMA also produced a member email campaign, free live and on-demand webinars, podcasts, regular blog posts and news articles, shareable social media FAQs on pet health and safety, informative videos, interactive maps to track COVID-19's impact, and client education materials.

Expert input was sought and received from species- and practice type-specific organizations across the veterinary profession. In addition, there was strong collaboration with state and federal agencies as recommendations and practical resources to implement those recommendations were developed.

“While AVMA's commitment to our members has remained steady, this rapidly changing situation presented a grave danger to the viability and operation of veterinary practices, with potentially devastating results for animal and public health. Our COVID-19 resources have been recognized as crucial to supporting our members, the entire veterinary profession, and the public,” according to the award submission.

The Association was recognized in The Power of Community Support and Engagement category. The ASAE Summit Awards took place virtually on Sept. 30.


The AVMA Council on Education has scheduled site visits to three schools and colleges of veterinary medicine for the remainder of 2020. Comprehensive site visits are planned for the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Oct. 4-8; the University College Dublin School of Veterinary Medicine, Nov. 15-19; and the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Dec. 6-10.

The council welcomes written comments on these plans or the programs to be evaluated. Comments should be addressed to Dr. Karen Martens Brandt, Director, Education and Research Division, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100,

Schaumburg, IL 60173. Comments must be signed by the person submitting them to be considered.


The University of Montreal team that created the Feline Grimace Scale, a tool for assessing acute pain in cats on the basis of changes in facial expressions, has launched a website about the FGS and has validated the scale for use in cats undergoing dental extractions.

The site at felinegrimacescale.com features an overview, fact sheet, and video about the FGS. The “About” section covers the development and original validation of the scale, using the scale, and how to interpret the scores, with a downloadable version of the training manual. Some of the other sections focus on scientific publications and news coverage, the team, and other work by the team. The site is available in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Chinese.

“Inter-rater reliability of the Feline Grimace Scale in cats undergoing dental extractions” was published online May 29 in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science and is available at jav.ma/FGSdental. In a study of 24 cats undergoing oral treatment, total FGS scores showed good reliability among raters. The FGS scores were not different with or without the caregivers’ presence.

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


Patrice Washington asked attendees to dig deeper so they can put themselves first and not succumb to the idea that someone has to be relentlessly stressing and striving to build their practice or be the best. (Photos by John Funteas)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

Putting yourself first can help you, others professionally

Speakers make arguments for self-compassion, compassionate leadership

By Malinda Larkin

Speakers at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 pushed attendees to consider their mental and emotional health to be as important as their physical health and to understand that putting themselves first—whether that means setting boundaries or taking a break—is necessary to do the work they were called to do. The speakers also encouraged everyone to think outside the box and said the most meaningful way to succeed is by helping other people succeed.


Patrice Washington is an author, speaker, media personality, and host of the “Redefining Wealth” podcast, through which she teaches people how to chase purpose, not money.

“I know you are all in on what you feel your purpose is. But what I also know is even the most passionate people have the potential to burn out when they don't think about themselves or put themselves first,” she said during her keynote speech on Aug. 20, sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition.

Her wakeup call came when she was in the hospital a year after a miscarriage. This time, she was 20 weeks pregnant and in premature labor. It was the beginning of the Great Recession, and she was watching banks she worked with every day closing down one after the other.

Her doctor told her, “I don't know what you're stressing about, but if you don't stop, you're going to leave two years in a row without a baby.”

“I had to make a decision in that moment about what was most important to me,” Washington said. “I decided to surrender, which was not give up, but it was to let go of control that I thought I had in that situation.”

She went on to deliver her daughter at 30 weeks but incurred substantial medical debts because her insurance company dropped her while she was in the hospital. She struggled for a few years to get back on her feet, even getting an eviction notice and having her power shut off at one point.

“When I talk about being a money maven, it's important I tell the truth about my experience. It doesn't do me or anyone any good to say that someone who is on a mountain top couldn't go through a valley,” Washington said.

Washington asked attendees to dig deeper so they can put themselves first and not succumb to the idea that someone has to be relentlessly stressing and striving to build their practice or be the best. She said she orders her life on the basis of the six pillars she teaches on her podcast. She referenced the first three pillars in her talk:

  • • Fitness, which is about becoming your best self by taking care of yourself.

  • • People, which is about creating relationships that matter.

  • • Space, which is about setting up your life to support you.

“It's not all about the things on the outside—degrees, education—but so much of our ability to grow and to do this thing with peace and ease and grace is going to come from you doing some of these unconventional things,” Washington said. “Maybe it's you not adding more clients but serving less clients so you can better take care of yourself so you can protect your physical and mental health. Maybe it's taking a therapy session so you can show up and be your best self, and everything you put in this profession is pleasing to you and not that you have anything to prove to anyone else. It may come from putting the phone down at dinner and giving loved ones undivided attention. It may come from setting boundaries that don't take calls at certain times or partnering with someone else. Maybe setting certain parameters so you can serve you and your family first. Or clearing something up so you can get clarity to move forward with power.

“This profession needs you and the magic only you have. You got to take care of yourself, your relationships, and your space so you can do the work you were called to do.”


Karamo Brown of Netflix's “Queer Eye” reboot is a gay Black man who has used his identity to build success. Growing up, having that identity wasn't always easy as he encountered people who were not always “getting” him or who were trying to put him in a box. But instead of letting others define or limit him, he says, those moments gave him greater clarity.

“If I could find the courage to love myself from those messages and push through, then anybody else can do it,” Brown said during his keynote speech on Aug. 21, sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition. “My whole thing is: I can't be afraid of walking slowly, I can only be afraid of standing still. They may not want you, but take another step. If you stand still, they've won. But if you keep going forward, you're winning.”


Karamo Brown, the culture expert on “Queer Eye,” says people often think changing their community or culture requires changing someone or something outside of themselves, but instead, when a person changes their attitude and values, that can change their culture.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

Part of what keeps him going is a clear purpose in life.

“When you wake up with no purpose, you wake up with no intention in the first or second step you take that day,” Brown said. “It could be one or 10 things, but if you did one thing and you feel closer to your purpose, it's you being closer to yourself.”

The fifth season of “Queer Eye” debuted this past June. The show had shot the first episode of the sixth season when production shut down because of the pandemic. Brown says the show will return when it's safe to do so.

As the culture expert on “Queer Eye” and as a social worker, Brown considers culture to mean shared values and attitudes. And people often think changing their community or culture requires changing someone or something outside of themselves.

“When you change your attitude and values, it starts to ripple. You see the change in your culture,” he said. “I need people to understand that when you're focusing on physical and mental health, that's where you see change in your life and community. … Change your attitude and values as well. Use that as guiding light to help change the world.”

Brown tells everyone to treat their mental health like physical health. For example, people who are on a fitness journey might tell their friends but may not be willing to do so when seeking mental help.

“It's OK to tell friends you're journaling and checking in with yourself and talking walks to calm anxiety. You start to normalize it. The same way my body would be affected, my body and emotions are affected. And you create a community of people who are willing to support you,” he said.


Adam Grant, PhD, is an author and a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania specializing in organizational psychology. His research is all about trying to make jobs more meaningful and work cultures more collaborative.

One topic he discussed on Aug. 22, in a talk sponsored by CareCredit, was the importance of being exposed to different hobbies or information. He cited data that showed Nobel prize-winning scientists, compared with their technically skilled but less creative peers, were twice as likely to play a musical instrument, seven times as likely to draw or paint, 12 times as likely to write creatively, and 22 times as likely to perform as actors, dancers, or magicians.

“The time you spend engaged in arts can make you a more creative scientist,” Grant said.

Alternatively, it helps for entrepreneurs to think like scientists. He discussed a case in Italy of business owners who were taught to do just that. They were to consider their business plan a hypothesis, and they were encouraged to collect data from stakeholders and the market to see whether experiments were confirming or disputing their hypothesis. This way of thinking dramatically increased their businesses’ revenue—and more quickly, too. The main reason was because they were twice as likely to pivot when something wasn't doing well, Grant said.


Adam Grant, PhD, (right) said leadership is one of the most powerful variables in how successful a company is in terms of profitability and growth rate during his closing session talk on Aug. 22.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

“Escalation of commitment to a losing course of action means you test a service, you're not getting the feedback you hope for, so you double down instead of saying this is a learning opportunity, and I should try something new,” Grant said.

Leadership is one of the most powerful variables in how successful a company is in terms of profitability and growth rate, he said, particularly with leaders who are committed to regular feedback, involve people in decision-making, and establish clear goals.

Those who are micromanagers, however, can make employees feel as though they are not trusted and constantly monitored, which hurts loyalty.

“We need more macromanagment,” Grant said. “People rarely need to be told how to solve problems. (A macromanager's) job is to reconsider our mission of our organization, and once we're clear about that, let's use the full range of skills to offer not just what we always have, but something else. They help us take a step back, zoom out, and ask, ‘What are the problems we could be solving?’ and making sure we don't miss anything under our nose.”

Finally, Grant contested the idea of compassion fatigue, saying this would be expected among “givers,” but the biggest givers tend to be less likely to burn out than their peers. Instead, he points to “empathetic distress” fatigue.

“Caring doesn't hurt, but caring and being unable to help does. Feeling like you can't help all the animals and people you're trying to serve, that creates exhaustion,” he said.

There are only three ways to prevent empathetic distress fatigue: control, demand, and support.

“Maybe I can't help every animal or employee in a tough spot, but I can have tasks in my job where I do feel like I make an impact. I want to feel like my job helps co-workers,” he said.

Employers can also reduce demands as well as take the pulse of their teams and redistribute responsibilities or set boundaries, such as employees not having to answer calls or emails at all hours.

“The most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed,” Grant said. “If I can make other people successful, they will be part of a rising tide that will lift all boats.”


This year, the AVMA's annual gathering took place fully online for the first time ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Aug. 20-22, the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 offered over 150 hours of continuing education, including sessions focused on cannabis and the impact of the pandemic; 40 virtual exhibitors; and special events such as a lip sync battle during Live Life, Love All, as well as alumni receptions, Vet Tech Trivia Night, and the AVMA Battle of the Bands II. In addition, the meeting had the Power Up Virtual 5K walk-run and charity fundraiser. Participants received a medal and T-shirt for going on a 3.1-mile run or walk around their neighborhood and, at the same time, supported the American Veterinary Medical Foundation's COVID-19 Disaster Relief Support fund (see story, page 676). Visit jav.ma/AVMA2020 to see an online photo gallery showing highlights from this year's convention.

Registered attendees can view all sessions on demand through the end of December. Those who missed the live event can still register to get access to CE sessions, visit exhibitor booths, and view special events and activities. The cost is $250 for AVMA member veterinarians, veterinary technicians, practice staff members, and executive directors of state VMAs and AVMA-allied organization; $50 for veterinary and veterinary technology students; and $350 for nonmember veterinarians. Visit avmaconvention.org for more information.

Next year, the AVMA intends to return to its in-person convention, which is planned for July 30-Aug. 3 in Minneapolis.


Anthony Fauci, MD

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663


By Greg Cima

White House adviser and infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, MD, thanked veterinarians for aiding human health through the study of animals.

He recorded a message to attendees of the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 that played on Aug. 22. Dr. Fauci expressed gratitude for veterinarians’ contributions to the nation's health, particuarly through a one-health approach, and expressed hope a COVID-19 vaccine will be available in 2021. He said research so far, including studies on nonhuman primates, indicate a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be safe and effective.

Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, delivered a 6-minute address on the state of the pandemic and ongoing work to develop treatments and vaccines. He recorded the address earlier in the month and, citing figures from Aug. 5, predicted the U.S. would have more than 5 million infections and well over 160,000 deaths by the time the video aired.

“Clearly, by the time you hear this talk, there will be a significant number of new infections,” he said.

Discussing studies involving animals, Dr. Fauci noted that results of a National Institutes of Health-funded study of one vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, showed that the vaccine reduced viral replication in the lungs of rhesus macaques and reduced shedding in their upper airways. The vaccine was co-developed by the NIH and the biotechnology firm Moderna.

On July 27, NIH officials announced the start of a Phase 3 clinical trial for the mRNA-1273 vaccine and said they expected to enroll about 30,000 adults.

“Moderna is leading the trial as the regulatory sponsor and is providing the investigational vaccine for the trial,” the announcement states. “The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and NIAID are providing funding support for the trial.”

Dr. Fauci said he was cautiously optimistic the trial would show the vaccine was safe and effective by the end of 2020 and a vaccine would become available starting in 2021. He noted that the vaccine was one of three in Phase 3 clinical trials.

He also noted the importance of a one-health approach to medicine, as human health is connected with the health of animals in a shared environment.

“Emerging and reemerging zoonotic infections are truly a perpetual challenge, with 70%-75% of all new infections emerging from an animal host,” he said.

More than a veterinarian

Practitioners discuss various side gigs inside, outside of veterinary medicine

By Kaitlyn Mattson

Studies have shown that workers with a creative hobby are more helpful, collaborative, and creative when it comes to job performance. Many veterinarians commonly pursue outside interests, but some have taken those endeavors to another level. For example, when Dr. Rheba Zimmerman took some time off during her undergraduate years, she studied to be a clown. Now she performs for charity events when she's not working in relief medicine.

Dr. Zimmerman, or Tutu Cute, was trained by former circus clowns and has competed all over the country. In fact, she became so adept at clowning that she was inducted into the Midwest Clown Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

JAVMA News spoke with several veterinarians who have side hustles about the work they do outside of clinical practice. Also, during the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020, one session focused on identifying areas of interest for development of a new business in veterinary medicine and how to make the time for such an endeavor.


Dr. Zimmerman said being a clown has improved her interpersonal and communication skills.

“It has helped me realize what my patients need from me on a day-today basis. In the clinic, there are so many emotions going on, and I feel that I try to have that same smile on my face, when appropriate,” Dr. Zimmerman said.

She said it's hard to balance everything, but she tries to make time for clowning and other hobbies.

“I do like to go out and clown periodically,” she said. “It is a break where I get to be a different character. I am going to a job where everyone smiles, and that doesn't usually happen. It is a good break from everyday life, and I can play for a couple of hours with everyone.

“As veterinarians, we have a hard time managing a work-life balance, and finding something outside of veterinary medicine that you enjoy and love is healthy. It can help reignite the love of veterinary medicine. It is easy to get burned out in this profession, and it is mentally taxing. Allowing your brain to focus on something else really benefits your overall mental health.”


Dr. Rheba Zimmerman is a relief veterinarian. She also does work on the side as a clown, going by the name of Tutu Cute. (Courtesy of Dr. Zimmerman)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663


Dr. Vishal Murthy, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, grew up drawing.

“I always wanted to be a cartoonist,” he said. “When I started getting into veterinary medicine, art became a way to keep myself sane through veterinary school.”

He took on several illustration jobs while in veterinary school; some even involved veterinary medicine. However, during his residency, he started using art as a relief.

“It is important to have interests outside of veterinary medicine,” Dr. Murthy said. “I think it's important to have something to keep your mind active and something to destress— any hobby, an outlet to unwind and disconnect.”

Now, Dr. Murthy said he does more realistic and educational art. He hopes to use his art to create better educational materials for students and clients.


Dr. Kemba Marshall, director of veterinary services at Land O'Lakes, is also a startup founder. The Marshall Recruiting Consortium is expected to soft launch in December.

Dr. Marshall said the company will act as a job board for folks in agriculture and animal sciences. She said the company will also offer mentorship opportunities, business tips, and other help for job seekers, including relocation advice.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, she feels the startup will do well.

“People eat multiple times a day. If you touch anything that involves people eating, that is happening inside and outside of a pandemic,” Dr. Marshall said. “Agriculture is always going to be necessary.”

Dr. Marshall said building a startup has allowed her to realize the power of her network and that she has had to get good about asking for help.

Dr. Quincy Hawley, the co-founder of Get MotiVETed, is no stranger to building a business while also working as a full-time veterinarian.

Dr. Hawley went into small animal practice after graduating from North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. He got burnout after a few years. He used self-care to overcome his anxiety and depression. He started Get MotiVETed with veterinary technician Renee Machel to help people enjoy veterinary medicine by focusing on well-being.

“We talk about the importance of personal development and radical self-care and how to do that,” Dr. Hawley said. “We talk about solutions.”


A session at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 delved into building a business.

Drs. Pat Mahaney and Hannah Fore spoke during the session “From Main Gigs to Side Hustles:

Entrepreneurship in Veterinary Medicine.” They touched on handling business challenges and provided tips for potential entrepreneurs.

Dr. Fore, a small animal relief veterinarian in St. Louis, has worked at many emergency and specialty practices. She started her own relief company, Foxli, in January after leaving her full-time job.

Dr. Fore doesn't have a business background, so she has worked with a certified public accountant to set up her LLC.

She initially struggled with leaving her job and its benefits, but said if she could go back in time, she would give herself more confidence in the transition.

“It's going to be OK; you are going to get through this,” she said. “I am a good veterinarian, and people are going to want to have me in their clinic.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the amount of work she is doing, but she said there is a concern about job security with this work, so she is prepared for slow months, too.

Dr. Fore said things such as a business license and the cost of health insurance were hiccups for her, and she recommends research into both areas.


Dr. Vishal Murthy, a clinical assistant professor of neurology, at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, wanted to be a cartoonist when he was young. Now he draws for his classes and the occasional client. (Courtesy of Dr. Murthy)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

She said overall working for herself has been great so far.

“I'm spending more time with my family,” she said. “And I've been able to explore general practice.”

Dr. Fore said her best advice to veterinary professionals interested in business or relief work is to have a good website with a contact page and to “network, network, network.”

Dr. Mahaney, founder of California Pet Acupuncture & Wellness in West Hollywood, California, said his company started as a mobile business, but he mainly does house calls and concierge-type medicine now.

“It's a very high-touch service. Every day is a workday in some capacity,” he said. “I always wanted to have my own business. I like working with people as a team, but I also like working for myself and deciding what I want to do and when I want to do it.”

Dr. Mahaney is also a part of many side projects, including speaking engagements, and he is a part owner and chief veterinary officer of Pure Dog Food, a Los Angeles-based animal food company focused on whole foods.

Dr. Mahaney said he found fulfillment and success when he moved to Southern California and started his own business.

“My business has become more successful than I ever would have imagined,” Dr. Mahaney said. “I am very satisfied with what I do, and I love having very personal relationships with clients.”

Dr. Mahaney added that owning a business is hard, and you have to prioritize taking care of yourself.

“Every day I eat healthily. I do some kind of exercise. I have mindfulness practices. I've created a structure where my clients cannot always communicate with me,” he said. “I have to be able to take care of myself.”


Dr. Emily Tincher, a university relations liaison at an animal health company, has worked in various areas of veterinary medicine.

“Without exploring and trying different things in part-time roles, I wouldn't have the network and skill set that led to my current position,” Dr. Tincher said.

Dr. Tincher feels a side hustle is an opportunity to consider what types of work you enjoy while balancing the additional time and effort they require.

“The balance of impact, compensation, and time should be worth it to you,” Dr. Tincher said.

She added that being a leader in the Veterinary Business Management Association during veterinary school exposed her to different areas of the profession.

Dr. Maggie Canning, who works in data insights and practice intelligence at an animal health company, said the VBMA had an impact on her, too, and it provided a solid foundation for her career.

Dr. Canning and Dr. Tincher attended Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine together.

After graduating in 2016, Dr. Canning used side jobs as a way to explore new things.

“Try to keep saying yes to things that interest you,” Dr. Canning said. “I explore new opportunities and then refine and edit as appropriate.”

Dr. Canning said she knew she needed to diversify her identities, and side hustles helped her do that.

“I realized I couldn't put all my self-worth and identity into being a clinical practitioner,” Dr. Canning said. “I knew I needed to find other sources of happiness, including sharing ideas as a speaker and becoming a parent.”


By Katie Burns

Talking about unlocking the feline mind basically means talking about learning, said Dr. Debra F. Horwitz, veterinary behaviorist.

Dr. Horwitz, who owns Veterinary Behavior Consultations in St. Louis, presented the session “Unlocking the Feline Mind” on Aug. 21 at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020.

“So what is learning?” she asked. “Learning is the relationship between behavior and consequence. You do a response, and there is an outcome. And the future responses that you might make in that same situation are based on the outcome itself.

“The foundation of efficient learning is creating a stimulus-response relationship that leads to learning the correct response.”

Theoretically, teaching cats is no different than teaching dogs. The learning principles are the same across species. Nevertheless, cats may attend to cues differently, eat treats differently, and have different behaviors to change.

The first step is to identify the behavior to change and what the new behavior will look like. A person might not want a cat to meow in the middle of the night, but rather, to sleep quietly on the bed or in another room.

“Behaviors are learned through a stimulus-response-consequence paradigm,” Dr. Horwitz said. People must slowly guide cats through the steps to change behaviors.

With positive reinforcement, the more you do a certain behavior, the more you get, and what you get is good, and so the behavior increases. For cats and dogs, food works really well as a reward, Dr. Horwitz said. For cats, one of the foods that works best is soft treats that can be consumed quickly, such as anchovy paste.

With punishment, the more you do a certain behavior, the more you get, and what you get is bad, and so the behavior decreases or stops. Punishment is not a good teaching tool, Dr. Horwitz said. “Why? Because it just tells you what not to do. It doesn't tell you what to do.”

Dr. Horwitz discussed various types of learning and gave examples. She trained a cat to get up on his climbing tower and sit there so she could give him his inhaler. First she taught him “up,” and he got up and got some food. Eventually, he learned to take three to five breaths, and then he would get another treat.


Food works really well as a reward when trying to teach a new behavior to a cat, said Dr. Debra F. Horwitz, a veterinary behaviorist.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

Another example involved introducing cats that didn't like each other. The cats were placed on either side of a door with a rope underneath that had a catnip toy at each end. The cats also were fed at a distance with two stacked baby gates between, and the food was gradually moved closer to the gates.

Dr. Horwitz went on to offer more tips on training, how to handle setbacks and pitfalls, and how to help behavior plans be successful.

The talk was based on one of the chapters of “Decoding Your Cat,” a new book from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, with Dr. Horwitz as one of the co-editors. The book is the companion to “Decoding Your Dog” from the ACVB, which came out in 2015.


By Greg Cima

Dogs that visit dog parks may be more likely to have parasites than dogs in the general pet population, according to survey results.

Through tests on feces, researchers found more than one-fifth of dogs at parks across the country were shedding parasites.

Dr. Susan E. Little, who is a parasitology professor in the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine, described results of a study by Oklahoma State and Idexx that identified parasites in feces collected from 85% of parks visited across the U.S. She thinks that figure underestimates the prevalence because of limited sampling per park.

“Many of us have already been made aware or probably could have anticipated that parasites are really common at dog parks,” she said.

Dr. Little described the study results in an Elanco-sponsored presentation Aug. 21 for the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020.

Dr. Little also noted that one survey conducted in 2017-18 found that 37% of people bring their dogs on road trips, almost double the proportion who did 10 years earlier.

“Dogs are invited, encouraged to go many more places than was the case just a few years ago,” she said. “And most of us see this as a very good thing.”

But parasites travel with dogs, she said.

In the new study, researchers collected fecal samples from 3,000 dogs over six weeks in July and August 2019 at 288 dog parks across the U.S., with owner permission and participation in questionnaires.

Overall, about 21% of dogs had some parasites. Citing a study from 2009, Dr. Little said about 12% of dogs presented for wellness care at that time were positive for parasites.

Hookworms, whipworms, and Giardia species were the most common among the dogs in dog parks in the new study, although some were infected with roundworms, coccidia, or tapeworms. Most dog parks are open to the public without screening for animal health, Dr. Little said.

The researchers found parasites in the feces of visiting dogs at about 90% of dog parks in the Southeastern U.S., 87% in the Midwest, 80% in the Northeast, and 79% in the West, Dr. Little said.

The South also had the highest rates of positive tests for hookworms, affecting 15% of dogs and 72% of parks, versus a low in the West of 1.5% of dogs and 17% of parks. The Miami area had a particularly high prevalence, with hookworms present in more than one-third of dogs sampled, Dr. Little said.

The researchers found about equal Giardia prevalence across the U.S., with positive samples from about 13% of dogs and about three-quarters of parks. Dr. Little noted many dog parks had wading pools, sprinklers, or splash pads during the summer sampling period, and Giardia species do well in water.

The questionnaire results combined with the sampling also found lower hookworm prevalence among dogs on heartworm preventives, at 6% rather than almost 12% of all dogs. When dog owners said their pets were on heartworm preventives, most of the dogs positive for hookworms were antigen positive only and not shedding eggs, and they may have been reinfected between doses.

Access-to-care conversations continue

Tips, advice on discussing incremental care shared during convention sessions

By Kaitlyn Mattson

Access-to-care issues may be the most substantial animal welfare crisis affecting pets in the U.S., said Dr. Zarah Hedge during the Aug. 22 session “Access to Veterinary Care: What Do We Know and Where Are We Going?” at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020.

Dr. Hedge is the chief medical officer and the vice president of shelter medicine at the San Diego Humane Society.

Challenges around access to care impact many areas of a community, but there are ways to discuss incremental amounts of care and financial challenges with clients.

“We didn't go to veterinary school because we wanted to go into practice and turn people away or have to euthanize animals for treatable conditions,” Dr. Hedge said. “This takes a huge emotional toll on the veterinary profession. These ethical decisions really take a toll on us. Wouldn't it be great to create pathways for these animals so they don't have to be euthanized and they don't have to be relinquished?”

During the session, Dr. Hedge focused on what the profession can do to break down potential barriers to care.

Affordability is the largest barrier to care within the U.S., according to the 2018 “Access to Veterinary Care” report from the Program for Pet Health Equity out of the University of Tennessee.

As previously reported by JAVMA News, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely increase access-to-care issues as many people face financial challenges related to job loss (see JAVMA, July 1, 2020, page 17).

“We are faced with the reality that this is likely going to become an even bigger problem,” Dr. Hedge said. “We can't avoid this issue anymore. We have to take meaningful steps to make changes. This is the human reality that we live in.

“Factors that have created this issue are not really the fault of the veterinary profession, but this is our issue to deal with, and, in reality, we are not doing what needs to be done to address this. Ultimately, it is taking a toll not just on these pets and families and communities, but it takes a toll on us as a profession as well.”


But how should veterinarians discuss finances with their clients? Dr. Kate Boatright, a small animal veterinarian in Pennsylvania, spoke during another Aug. 22 session at the virtual convention, “Tales from the Trenches: Working Within Client Financial Limitations,” about how to incorporate and discuss the spectrum of care with clients.

Dr. Boatright said the first step is defining the standard of care.

“We should shift our perspective a little. Instead of thinking of the standard of care as a set baseline, a nonnegotiable, let's think about care as a spectrum,” she said.

Dr. Boatright said when she gives clients an estimate and they can't afford it, she tinkers with it by reducing diagnostic testing and prioritizing patient comfort. She suggests asking questions such as “Are you treating the presenting complaint?” and “Are you comfortable with the options as a doctor?”

Dr. Boatright suggests the following tips when working with incremental care:

  • • Evaluate the patient with a physical examination, and obtain a full history from the client.

  • • Decide if testing is necessary by asking questions such as “What information will I gain from the test, and will it change how I treat?”

  • • Always offer the client the ideal care plan, and then discuss the spectrum of care if finances are a concern.

  • • Educate a client on what they are giving up by doing incremental care.

  • • Express empathy for and understanding of the client's limitations without judgment.

  • • Be transparent about costs and possible outcomes, but talk about care first and money second.

  • • Ask questions up front such as “What is your budget today?” and “What are your goals for today's visit?”


Dr. John Howe, 2019-20 AVMA president, honored the recipients of his three President's Awards at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 in August. The award recognizes individuals or groups for making a positive impact on health, veterinary organizations, or the profession.

This year's recipients are Dr. William “Bill” Maher, a retired practitioner in Minnesota; Dr. Clark K. Fobian, an AVMA past president; and the entire staff of the AVMA. Dr. Howe describes here why he chose the recipients.

Dr. William “Bill” Maher

In recognition and gratitude for the example he set and the encouragement he offered me as a student considering a veterinary career. The professionalism and dedication he had to veterinary medicine, his clients, his patients, and his employees inspired me and challenged me to achieve a rewarding and successful career. Dr. Maher represents the type of mentoring that contributes to the health of the veterinary profession.

Dr. Clark K. Fobian

In recognition and gratitude for his commitment to leadership by example and his encouragement for individual involvement in organized veterinary medicine. Because of his stability, consistency, and dedication, his actions have led to a stronger AVMA and have influenced many current and up-and-coming veterinarians.

All AVMA staff members

In recognition and gratitude for their hard work and dedication to the AVMA and its members. From legal representation, communications, marketing, and data collection to the multitude of office-related tasks that make life easier for all involved, these individuals have tirelessly supported the Board of Directors, the House of Delegates, the committees and councils, the executive branch, the membership, and the veterinary medical profession with tireless devotion and dedication. They are the greatest assets of the AVMA.


Dr. William “Bill” Maher

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663


Dr. Clark K. Fobian

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

AVMF partnerships support diversity, COVID-19 relief efforts

Foundation funding Tuskegee scholarships, disaster grants for AVMA members

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is teaming up with corporate partners on initiatives aimed at supporting diversity in the veterinary profession and helping veterinary professionals who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19.


On Aug. 21, the AVMF and Hill's Pet Nutrition announced a $45,000 endowment from Hill's for a scholarship program for students at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. Tuskegee, a historically Black university, has educated more than 70% of the nation's African American veterinarians.

Tuskegee's veterinary scholarship committee will identify awardees annually, starting with the 2021-22 academic year, using criteria developed by the veterinary college and the AVMF, the charitable arm of the AVMA.

“We are very grateful to Hill's for its vision and generosity, and we look forward to working with colleagues at Tuskegee University to help open doors of opportunity for students seeking careers in veterinary medicine,” Dr. John Howe, chair of the AVMF Board of Directors, said in a statement.

The veterinary college and AVMF will determine the number and dollar amount of scholarships awarded each academic year under the initial endowment. They will also seek to raise additional funds with the goal of increasing the number and dollar amount of scholarships.

“Hill's Pet Nutrition is proud to support our only HBCU (historically Black college or university) veterinary college in our commitment to promote diversity and equality all over the world,” Dr. Jolle Kirpensteijn, chief professional veterinary officer for Hill's in the U.S., said in a statement.

“We at Tuskegee focus on our students being career-ready veterinarians when they complete the curriculum and encourage their pursuits of the vast areas of career choices in the veterinary profession. The generosity of Hill's will help our students achieve this goal,” Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of Tuskegee's veterinary college, said in a statement.


Earlier, on Aug. 18, the AVMF announced a partnership with VCA Animal Hospitals to develop a new COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant Program for Veterinarians and to provide additional funds for a similar program developed earlier this year for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.

VCA Animal Hospitals and the AVMF will each donate $50,000 toward the new program for veterinarians that will be used to provide $500 grants to meet the immediate needs of AVMA members facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

To further extend assistance, VCA has committed to donate an additional $50,000 to provide grants to those who applied for but did not receive a $500 grant through the AVMF's COVID-19 disaster relief program for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants, launched this May and funded by Hill's Pet Nutrition, Zoetis, and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.


A scholarship program for students at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine has been created by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation thanks to a $45,000 endowment from Hill's Pet Nutrition. Here, Dr. Elizabeth Yorke, associate professor of equine surgery at Tuskegee's veterinary college, instructs students on how to perform a lameness examination. (Courtesy of Tuskegee University CVM)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

The AVMF and VCA Animal Hospitals are offering the COVID-19 disaster relief funds as challenge grants, encouraging matching donations from the veterinary community and the public to help amplify the grants’ impact for veterinary professionals who are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Donations are being accepted at AVMF.org/Donate.

The AVMF is now accepting applications from AVMA members for the new COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant Program for Veterinarians. Visit AVMF.org/CovidVetGrants to learn more and submit an application.

While no new applications are being accepted for the existing COVID-19 disaster relief grant program for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants, the AVMF and VCA Animal Hospitals hope to raise enough funds through their challenge grants to provide assistance to as many of those who have already applied as possible.

“The pandemic has created historic challenges for our veterinary family,” Dr. Todd Lavender, president of animal hospitals and pet care services at VCA, said in a statement. “But our family always takes care of its own. We are honored to work with the AVMF to provide financial assistance to doctors and technicians, as an investment in veterinary talent, the future of high-quality veterinary care and a better world for pets.”

Grants are also available to participating veterinary clinics through the AVMF Veterinary Care Charitable Fund to provide veterinary care for animals whose owners are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. More information is available at vccfund.org.

National Veterinary Scholars Symposium goes virtual

More than 500 student posters featured research on topics ranging from microbiology to access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the in-person 2020 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium for student researchers, scheduled for this summer in San Diego, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and conference sponsors retooled to present the meeting as a virtual experience.

With support from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, the AAVMC presented the symposium from Aug. 4-6. This year's theme was “Disruptive Innovation,” and the meeting featured student research presentations from across the spectrum of biomedical science as well as three keynote presentations focused on COVID-19.

About 770 students, faculty mentors, and others registered for the event, which annually highlights the role of scientific research in veterinary medicine, provides veterinary students with first-hand experience in presenting research, and highlights the opportunity to pursue careers in biomedical research. The three-day conference included 45 poster sessions, made possible by 30 faculty volunteers representing 14 institutions.


Alexandria Zabiegala, pictured here at last year's National Veterinary Scholars Symposium in Massachusetts, was one of five recipients of stipends from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation for veterinary students conducting a second year of summer research. (Courtesy of Alexandria Zabiegala)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

Veterinary students participating in summer research programs conduct a hypothesis-driven project developed jointly by the student and a faculty mentor, which is typically conducted during the summer over eight to 12 weeks. The results are shared in the end-of-summer symposium.

Every year, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation provides stipends for five veterinary students who are conducting a second year of summer research. Among the recipients this year was Alexandria Zabiegala (Kansas State ‘22). Last year, Zabiegala presented “Genetic and replication analysis of highly virulent feline calicivirus isolate, KS-2019.” This year, she presented a literature review, “Coronavirus through time and species: analysis of coronaviruses in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The other stipend recipients were Kaitlyn M. Cassel (Pennsylvania ‘22), Emily Lemoine (Missouri ‘22), Anna Mukhina (Michigan State ‘22), and Maya S. Schlesinger (California-Davis ‘22).

At this year's symposium, more than 500 student posters featured topics that ranged from wildlife conservation and microbiology to timely subjects such as access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students presented their research findings using a digital platform that allowed them to record their verbal presentations, add features such as embedded video to their digital posters, and interact directly with interested attendees. Topic-based poster sessions also allowed students to present live and field questions about their research.

The following keynote speakers presented remarks during the virtual symposium:

  • • Dr. Jonna Mazet, a professor of epidemiology and disease ecology in the One Health Institute at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, spoke on “Using One Health to Provide a COVID Pandemic Blueprint for Hope.”

  • • Dr. Angela Bosco-Lauth, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, spoke on “SARS-CoV-2 Host Range Studies.”

  • • Erin Sorrell, PhD, a member of the Center for Global Health Science and Security and an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University, spoke on “The Importance of Veterinarians in Research and the Response to Emerging Infectious Diseases.”

Boehringer Ingelheim presented its Veterinary Graduate Award to Dr. Sara Hamman Osum and its Veterinary Research Scholar Award to veterinary student Megan Fahey (Cornell ‘23).

Ahead of the symposium, the AVMA provided the abstract submission service and compiled the electronic abstract book.

The decision to cancel the in-person meeting in San Diego and convert to an online format was made in April, said Dr. Caroline Cantner, AAVMC director for professional development. Offering a virtual opportunity was a major undertaking that required a great deal of effort and planning by the conference organizers and sponsors, including the University of California-San Diego and Western University of Health Sciences, the host institutions for the original in-person conference.

“While we initially did not know how many students would be able to participate, it is overwhelming to see the number of students and programs who joined us for the virtual symposium,” Dr. Cantner said in a meeting summary. “The success of this event speaks to the critical importance of veterinary medical research and the commitment of the veterinary research community to the next generation of researchers.”


By Greg Cima

Large numbers of minks on two Utah farms died during August outbreaks with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

State authorities have imposed quarantines on both farms.

Dr. Dean Taylor, Utah's state veterinarian, said during an Aug. 17 press conference the farms requested diagnostic testing in response to unusually high death rates. But he didn't know what those death rates were or how they compared with expected rates, and state and federal agriculture authorities were still investigating how the disease spread to the animals.

“Utah is one of the top breeders of mink in the United States, and the Department of Agriculture and Food, we are committed to addressing this issue boldly for the safety and future of mink farming in the state,” he said.

Workers on both farms developed COVID-19. Bradie Jones, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, said her agency didn't immediately have details on whether the human or animal infections were discovered first, how many people were infected, or whether those people developed severe disease.

Dr. Taylor said he saw no evidence the workers contracted the virus from minks and indicated that the risk of animal-to-human transmission remained low.

In an announcement about Utah's outbreaks, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said they had monitored previous outbreaks on mink farms in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain and responded with guidance for U.S. mink farmers.

When infections spread this spring on mink farms in the Netherlands, at least two workers likely contracted the virus from the animals, according to a June 12 article in Science. The severity varied by animal and farm, as one farm reported a negligible increase in mink deaths and another lost almost 10% of its animals, the article states.

National Geographic reported June 24 that Dutch authorities had ordered depopulation of a half-million minks to stop the spread of the virus, which by then had caused infections on 17 farms in the Netherlands. The country's parliament voted to halt mink breeding, accelerating plans to end the mink industry in 2024, the article states.

A July 14 report in Veterinary Pathology says that, among the first four farms with confirmed infections, daily mortality rates doubled or tripled for about four weeks. Many animals developed breathing difficulties and nasal discharge, and animals that stopped eating were often found dead the following day.

Feral cats around those Dutch farms also had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, according to an article published June 11 in Eurosurveillance.

Dr. Taylor said Utah implemented testing on farms with SARS-CoV-2 infections and is considering whether to test on other farms.

U.S. mink farms produced about 2.7 million pelts in 2019, and about one-fifth of those came from Utah farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Utah is the second-largest mink producer, behind Wisconsin.


Eastern cottontail rabbits, abundant throughout much of North America, are among the species susceptible to rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus serotype 2. (Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

Rabbits across US likely vulnerable to deadly virus causing disease in the West

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus serotype 2 affecting cottontails, jackrabbits

By Greg Cima

A virus killing rabbits in the Southwest and West could spread among vulnerable species across North America.

Rabbits and hares across the continent may be susceptible to rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus serotype 2, which caused sporadic outbreaks in domestic rabbits in North America before it was first discovered in wildlife this March in New Mexico.

It since has spread to Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah and is killing domestic rabbit herds and at least four wild lagomorph species. Mexico is dealing with concurrent outbreaks in its northern states.

Dr. Julianna Lenoch, a veterinary epidemiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said Aug. 14 the U.S., fortunately, saw little recent spread of the virus.

“We haven't had a new state or expansion reported in the last 60 days,” she said. “But most of the rabbit groups and wildlife partners are on high alert for any further disease incursion.”

The deaths reported so far among domestic and wild rabbits suggest the virus has a mortality rate somewhere between 50% and 90%, Dr. Lenoch said.

As of mid-August, the virus had spread in the wild among desert and mountain cottontails and black-tailed and antelope jackrabbits, she added. Researchers with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory have shown that eastern cottontails also are susceptible to the virus.

The U.S. habitat for eastern cottontails stretches from the Great Plains to the East Coast, overlapping with the native ranges of desert and mountain cottontails in the west and New England cottontails in the east, according to information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey.

Pikas may also be among the susceptible species, and the same is true for threatened and endangered rabbit species, Dr. Lenoch said. APHIS is working with state agencies to protect those animals, she said.

The riparian brush hare, for example, survives in a limited span of northern California. The Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit lives in five counties of Washington state.

Since February 2018, RHDV2 has caused illnesses among feral rabbits on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, a pet rabbit in Ohio, island-bound pet and feral European rabbits in Washington state, and pet rabbits linked with a veterinary clinic in New York City, according to an APHIS emerging risk notice published this July.

“I don't know that we expect any type of geographic containment due to where we've already seen detections,” Dr. Lenoch said.

In a July 13 article from Tufts University, Dr. Jennifer Graham, head of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine zoological companion animal medicine service, said that, once the virus gets into a wild rabbit population, there's no way to stop it from rapidly spreading and becoming endemic.

“Veterinary epidemiologists feel this disease is going to be pretty established throughout the country by next year,” she said.


Dr. Julia Lankton, a wildlife pathologist for the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, said the virus is highly contagious, with potential to infect rabbits and hares through oral, nasal, conjunctival, or parenteral routes.

It spreads through contact with infected animals and their secretions or excretions, which can be on contaminated bedding or forage. It also can spread by vectors such as flies, carnivores, and scavengers, as well as fomites such as clothing, shoes, and farm or home tools.

Dr. Lenoch said RHDV2 is persistent in wild environments, lasting three months or more in organic material and remaining viable despite freezing or high temperatures. The virus is hardy enough that she doesn't expect large seasonal fluctuations in infections.

Dr. Lankton said the virus attacks a rabbit's liver first. The damage may cause disseminated intravascular coagulation, a condition in which blood clots block small blood vessels and deplete platelets and clotting factors, reducing the body's ability to produce clots where needed. This leads to multiorgan hemorrhage and death.

Bryan Richards, emerging disease coordinator for the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, said humans almost definitely helped the virus jump long distances, including its leap across the Atlantic from Europe to Quebec in 2016 and its emergence in British Columbia. Since it reached the Southwestern U.S., multiple mechanisms have likely contributed to its spread among wild and domestic rabbits.

Dr. Lenoch said animal health investigators have been unable to determine how the virus arrived in the Southwest. Genetic sequences from wild and domestic rabbits showed the strains were clonal and so offered no clues on its introduction.

The virus already established a substantial geographic footprint even though rabbits and hares are nonmigratory and tend to spend their lives in small areas, Richards said. Whether that footprint expands will depend, in part, on whether contiguous populations support continued rabbit-to-rabbit spread.

The outbreak in New York City involved 11 pet rabbits, linked by a veterinary clinic. Dr. Lenoch called owners of exposed animals.

“And 155 interviews later, none of them reported ever seeing wild rabbits in the neighborhood,” she said.

In the Southwest, people often raise rabbits in backyard hutches or enclosures, where domestic rabbits can have close encounters with wild ones.

Dr. Lenoch said the USDA lacks regulatory authority to implement quarantines or movement controls over rabbits. APHIS is relying on state agriculture and wildlife departments and giving them help to improve disease controls and mitigation efforts.


Dr. Lankton noted that RHDV2 spread rapidly across Europe and Australia after its introduction and discovery in each. She cited a January 2018 scientific article, published in the Journal of Virology, that indicates the virus spread 3,500 kilometers coast to coast across Australia within 18 months of its detection in May 2015.

People who work with rabbits—domestic or wild—are on high alert, Dr. Lenoch said. Those stakeholders include farmers who raise rabbits for meat, fur, or medical applications, as well as breeders and rescue organizations.

APHIS is working on outreach and giving guidance on biosecurity, cleaning, disinfection, and how to avoid bringing the virus into a rabbit farm. And Dr. Lenoch noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a list of disinfectants suitable for use against RHDV2.

State animal health officials and state veterinarians are the best sources of information for rabbit owners, she said.

Earlier this year, USDA officials authorized emergency use of two European vaccines against the RHDV2 virus in states with confirmed RHDV2 infections. Veterinarians who gain approval from their state veterinarians can apply for permits from the APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics to import the killed-virus vaccines.

Richards also has some positive news: Every mortality event in wild populations that he knows of, large or small, had some survivors in the same area. It's unclear how many of those rabbits became exposed to the virus and survived infection, he said.

Richards said rabbits, fortunately, rebuild populations quite quickly. But state and federal officials are monitoring for population-level effects on lagomorphs, as well as the potential cascading effects on their predators and environments.


The Student AVMA House of Delegates met virtually for its summer meeting Aug. 1-2. Student delegates passed a bylaws amendment for its chapter membership percentage requirement in extenuating circumstances, eg, a pandemic, and met with SAVMA chapter presidents to discuss how to assist students who have challenges with attaining externships and mentorships during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photos by Marie Bucko)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many facets of life, including switching meetings from in person to virtual and making curbside service at veterinary clinics the new norm.

The Student AVMA, too, has had to make adjustments in light of veterinary colleges not having most students on campus this past spring and continued disruptions this fall. The SAVMA House of Delegates passed a bylaws amendment for its chapter membership percentage requirement under extenuating circumstances, eg, a pandemic, during its summer meeting Aug. 1-2.

The change lowers the SAVMA membership requirement at U.S., Canadian, and Caribbean veterinary colleges from 80% to 51% of students—and at other veterinary colleges from 40% to 21%—for an institution to have voting privileges in the SAVMA HOD. This change can only be made in the event of extenuating circumstances, and the veterinary college must meet specific requirements at the discretion of the SAVMA Executive Board.

SAVMA HOD committees also took a number of actions. The Integrative Communications and Diversity Committee and Educational and Professional Development Committee collaborated to provide new grants for students from groups underrepresented in veterinary medicine. The Wellbeing Committee also created a new grant to support LGBTQ students. The Governmental Affairs Committee created a hardship grant for students and published its Advocacy Toolkit, a step-by-step guide to governmental advocacy for people of all levels of experience.

At the joint meetings of the delegates and chapter presidents, the topics of discussion were how schools are adapting to COVID-19, the challenges students face, concerns for SAVMA engagement, and how best to support students and provide resources. Together, delegates and chapter presidents are working on creating a resource to help students locate externships and mentorship as well as an intercollegiate calendar for virtual events and lectures.

SAVMA is in the initial data collection phase for students regarding externships and mentorship, said Marie Bucko, SAVMA president. The next steps will be working with the AVMA, including the AVMA House of Delegates, to help fill those needs geographically. SAVMA and AVMA leaders are considering creating a joint Facebook group.

The SAVMA HOD meeting had a number of guests, including the following.

  • • Drs. Douglas Kratt, AVMA president, and José Arce, AVMA president-elect, welcomed students and shared greetings from the AVMA and outlined the Association's goals. They highlighted the importance of SAVMA and the AVMA working together and being resources for one another. Later, members of the AVMA Board of Directors joined students in their breakout committees to listen and learn about topics at the forefront of the veterinary student body.

  • • Drs. Grace Bransford, outgoing AVMA vice president, and Sandra Faeh Butler, incoming AVMA vice president, expressed well-wishes for veterinary students and how far SAVMA has come. “Dr. Bransford has made a huge impact on advocating for students,” Bucko said, adding that Dr. Faeh Butler said she looks forward to continuing this relationship for the next two years.

  • • Dr. Rebecca Stinson, AVMA Trust student services representative, joined students to host a team-building lunch sponsored by the AVMA Trust family.

  • • Dr. Annie Chavent joined students as the newest assistant director of AVMA student initiatives. Previously, she was an associate veterinarian at PenMar Equine Practice in Myersville, Maryland.

  • • Drs. Marie Sato Quicksall, president-elect of the Multicultural VMA, and Stéphie-Anne Dulièpre, MCVMA community outreach and volunteer chair, shared their personal stories in veterinary medicine. They explained how the MCVMA was created and its mission to promote racial and ethnic diversity and cultural competency within the veterinary profession. They also answered the questions “How do we appeal for change when everything is virtual?” and “How do we, as students, deal with a power dynamic?” Finally, the two leaders explained the #WakeUpVetMed hashtag and the petition that the MCVMA put forth to call for institutional self-assessment by the AVMA and implementation of action items.

Student delegates elected the following 2020-21 SAVMA officers: Brooke MacNeill, Colorado State University, secretary-elect; Ilissa Chasnick, Michigan State University, treasurer-elect; Sarah Delmotte, University of Georgia, The Vet Gazette editor-elect; and Pallavi Oruganti, The Ohio State University, cultural outreach officer-elect.

Delegates voted to have the 2022 SAVMA Symposium take place at the University of Minnesota. SAVMA will next meet at the 2021 SAVMA Symposium, March 13-15 at Kansas State University.


Cannabis's potential and pitfalls explored in AVMA symposium

By R. Scott Nolen

How should a veterinarian respond when a client asks about treating a pet dog with a cannabinoid tincture advertised as an analgesic? Is there research supporting that use or underlying any of the claims made for the scores of cannabis and cannabinoid-based products marketed for pets? Does a practitioner who recommends such a product for a patient risk running afoul of the state licensing board, the Food and Drug Administration, or the Drug Enforcement Administration?

These were just some of the thorny issues covered during the first-ever AVMA Cannabis Symposium, held Aug. 20-22 during the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020.

Speakers addressed various aspects of cannabis as a veterinary therapeutic, such as regulatory and toxicological concerns, as well as its potential as an analgesic or treatment for osteoarthritis in animal patients. Following are some of the speaker highlights.


Thirty-three states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use by people—or both. And yet, none of these laws account for use of cannabis in veterinary medicine. California is the only state to specifically address veterinarians’ ability to engage with clients, indicating that veterinarians can discuss the use of cannabis for medical purposes with clients without being disciplined by the veterinary medical board solely for having that conversation. By that same statute, veterinarians are prohibited from prescribing, dispensing, or administering any cannabis or cannabis-based products. The statute does not address the therapeutic use of products derived from industrial hemp, which are covered under provisions of the state's veterinary practice act applicable to diagnosing, prescribing, or administering a drug for prevention or treatment of an animal's condition.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved only one cannabis-derived drug and three synthetic cannabis-related drugs, all for use in human medicine. No other cannabis, cannabis-derived, or cannabidiol product currently available is approved by the agency.

“We certainly recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities,” said symposium speaker Randall Gnatt, a senior regulatory counsel in the Office of Surveillance and Compliance in the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

“We're also aware that some companies are marketing products in ways that violate the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and then may put the health and safety of people and animals at risk,” he explained. “The agency is committed to protecting the public health while also taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis-derived products.”

Gnatt said the FDA is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of CBD and related products with a focus on educating the public about these products, informing the agency's regulatory considerations of these products, and taking action when necessary to protect public health.

“We understand there's high demand with consumers seeking out these novel products for a variety of perceived health-related or other reasons. But as the agency has stated before, we are concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market have been evaluated by FDA and determined to be safe,” which, as Gnatt explained, isn't the case.

“Other than the approved human prescription drug, we know little about the potential effects of sustained or cumulative long-term use of CBD,” Gnatt continued. “We don't know about coadministration with other medicines or risks to vulnerable human and animal populations. This doesn't mean that we know CBD is categorically unsafe under all circumstances, but given the gaps in our current knowledge and the known risks that have been identified, we're not at a point where we can conclude that CBD products are safe for use.”

Little is known about the effects of cannabis and CBD on various nonhuman animal species, particularly with regard to the accumulation of residues in the edible tissues of food-producing animals. “There is a great need for more rigorous scientific research into both safety and potential therapeutic uses of cannabis-derived products for animals,” Gnatt said.

Conflicting federal and state laws either prohibiting or sanctioning medical marijuana or hemp-derived CBD can put veterinarians in a difficult spot. “Clients are able to get these products right down the street or through the internet, and they're looking for advice from their veterinarian,” said Jim Penrod, executive director of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.



Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

Penrod spoke during the cannabis symposium about the varying views among U.S. veterinary licensing boards about the issue. Marijuana was illegal for decades, he explained, adding that the drug was difficult to study given its classification as a Schedule 1 substance. When California legalized medical marijuana in 2006, the state “let the genie out of the bottle,” as it were, with the decriminalization process quickly outpacing the research.

“Because things are progressing so quickly and decisions are being made so quickly … I'm not going to give you the answers today. I'm not going to tell you that, ‘Yes, it's fine for you to go talk about cannabis,’ or ‘It's fine for you to dispense.’ I don't have those answers,” Penrod said.

In 2019, the AAVSB surveyed state veterinary licensing boards about whether it is legal for a veterinarian to discuss cannabis with a client. Penrod said the association recently contacted those boards to determine whether they were still comfortable with the answers they gave in the 2019 survey, and several changed their answers.

Responses varied from one extreme to the other. Six states said veterinarians could lose their license if they even talk about cannabis, four said veterinarians need to adhere to federal law, seven said state boards can't even provide legal advice, seven said they have no formal opinion on the matter, two said veterinarians could talk about cannabis but only if the client starts the conversation, 18 responded that veterinarians could discuss cannabis but could not prescribe or dispense it, and four said veterinarians could discuss the topic.

The position of the AAVSB is that veterinarians should be able to discuss CBD with a client to ensure animal and public protection. “That just makes sense,” Penrod said. “If a client comes in and says, ‘I'm going to use CBD on an animal,’ you should be able to talk to them about it, to warn them about some of the side effects, to watch out for those, to make sure that they're purchasing a product that's been analyzed and it doesn't contain things like pesticides.”

The AAVSB has created a task force to create guidance documents for regulatory boards concerning the issue of cannabis. “Because things are changing so quickly, if we drafted regulations or practice law language, it could be out of date as soon as we published it. Guidance is a little more flexible,” Penrod said.


Dr. Trina Hazzah is regularly questioned about cannabis use even though there are no cannabis products approved for therapeutic use in animals.

That is, clients frequently ask Dr. Hazzah, a veterinary oncologist working in Los Angeles whose area of interest is complementary and alternative medicine, about incorporating cannabis into their pets’ treatment protocols.

Dr. Hazzah, a founder and the co-president of the Veterinary Cannabis Society, offered her perspective on the therapeutic use of cannabis-derived products as part of the AVMA Cannabis Symposium.

As Dr. Hazzah explained, cannabis is primarily used with animals as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, or anti-neoplastic. Prior to considering a cannabis product, the patient must first be evaluated to confirm that the animal has a potentially cannabis-responsive condition.

“Does the patient have any contraindications or comorbidities that may prevent you from starting cannabis? Are there any potential drug interactions that you should be aware of?” Dr. Hazzah asked. “The next step is to evaluate the actual product as well as the product safety.”

She cited a 2015 study that evaluated 75 edible cannabis products available in various California cities and found that just 7% of the products were accurately labeled for the cannabinoid content. In a follow-up session, Jack Henion, PhD, professor emeritus of toxicology at Cornell University, also conveyed results of a similar study where 12 of 13 animal products had greater THC levels than Canada's acceptable limits.

“It's really, really important that clients do their due diligence and ask for a certificate of analysis,” said Dr. Hazzah, who discourages clients from treating pets with cannabis products marketed for human illness.

“You want to walk them through finding companies that are transparent, that have good customer service, that have up-to-date COA—a certificate of analysis—confirming that the product is free of contaminants and that is very specific on what is in the product,” she said.

Talk to clients about potential adverse effects and what signs to look for in pets, Dr. Hazzah added.

“And then, lastly, you should set really clear expectations with a client, making sure that they know that cannabis is not necessarily a wonder drug,” Dr. Hazzah explained.


Dr. Dharati Szymanski, an assistant director in the AVMA Division of Animal and Public Health and organizer of the summit, summarized the event thus: “Our members hear varying perspectives from cannabis manufacturers, their state boards, regulatory agencies, colleagues, and, of course, clients. Sometimes it is difficult to see where these perspectives might intersect or how far apart they sit. Practitioners want to have confidence in the safety and efficacy of products. However, when the marketplace has outpaced the evaluation of products, veterinarians need to understand the potential benefits as well as risks surrounding these products for their patients and the liability risks for themselves. There has been much progress in bridging these gaps, but we need more work in areas of research, quality control, and FDA evaluation for veterinarians to have general confidence in available products.”


The AVMA has made available a new comprehensive report on cannabis in veterinary medicine.

The document provides a base of scientific and regulatory knowledge for veterinary practitioners from leading veterinary experts.

Featured in the report is the following:

  • • An introduction to the endogenous endocannabinoid system.

  • • A synopsis of manufacturing quality.

  • • A review of animal clinical studies exploring efficacy and safety.

  • • Information about potential adverse effects, including data around exposures and toxicoses from poison control centers.

  • • A description of the current regulatory landscape.

The report, “Cannabis in veterinary medicine,” is available to AVMA members and is one of several AVMA cannabis resources posted at avma.org/cannabis.

For those who may still have questions or comments about cannabis after reading the resources, they can email cannabis@avma.org.


Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee, announced the appointment of Dr. Stacy Anderson as its new dean in August.

Dr. Anderson joined the veterinary college in 2015 and has since served as associate dean for academic affairs, director of large animal clinical skills, and an associate professor of large animal surgery.

“Dr. Anderson has a passion for veterinary education and is dedicated to the CVM's mission of producing confident, competent day-one veterinarians,” said Clayton Hess, LMU president, in a university press release. “Over the last five years, she has implemented new initiatives, developed an innovative curriculum, and had a positive impact on our students, faculty, and staff. We look forward to her leadership in training future veterinarians in Appalachia and beyond.”

Dr. Anderson is from a family of veterinarians and veterinary educators. Her father, Dr. Brad Thacker, was a swine veterinarian who was on the faculty at Michigan State University and Iowa State University. Her mother, Dr. Eileen Thacker, led a research group at ISU focused on swine respiratory diseases.

Dr. Anderson succeeds Dr. Jason Johnson, who was a founding member of the veterinary college. Dr. Johnson took a position at Idexx as vice president and global chief medical officer, but will also serve as chair of the veterinary college advisory board.

“Through the years I have watched Dr. Anderson grow and I have recognized she is a natural-born leader,” Dr. Johnson said in the university press release. “I'm absolutely convinced she is the perfect person to continue to advance the mission of the college. She possesses a true passion and innate skill to innovate and advance veterinary education, not only at LMU but within all veterinary academia. I am super excited to watch the lasting impact she will have on education.”

Dr. Anderson graduated from ISU veterinary college. She completed a large animal surgical residency at Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She obtained board certification from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2013. She completed a doctoral degree evaluating the lifespan of equine neutrophils in inflammatory conditions.


Dr. Stacy Anderson is the new dean of Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. (Courtesy of LMU)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663

More recently, Dr. Anderson was the chair in 2018 of the LMU veterinary college's Curriculum Review and Revision Task Force, which focused on the preclinical curriculum. She previously worked as the LMU representative for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Leadership Academy. Dr. Anderson won the Class of 2020 Teacher of the Year award and the Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award.

She plans to continue teaching while balancing her new role in the administration.


Dr. Robert O. Dittmar II, the first state wildlife veterinarian for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, was among three TPWD members killed in a helicopter crash Aug. 8 while conducting an aerial survey of desert bighorn sheep in West Texas. He was 64.

“Wildlife conservation in Texas lost three of its finest as they so honorably and dutifully carried out their calling to help survey, monitor, and protect the bighorns of their beloved west Texas mountains,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director, in a statement.

The helicopter reportedly crashed in a remote canyon of Black Gap Wildlife Management Area near the Mexican border. Also killed were wildlife biologist Dewey Stockbridge and fish and wildlife technician Brandon White. The helicopter pilot survived the crash, which is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration along with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Game Wardens.

Dr. Dittmar was born Oct. 18, 1955, in Fredericksburg, Texas, as a fifth-generation Texas rancher. He chose a career in veterinary medicine and graduated in 1979 from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences.

In 1982, Dr. Dittmar bought the Kerrville Veterinary Clinic in Kerrville, Texas. He sold the practice after almost 10 years but continued working at the clinic.

Dr. Dittmar accepted a position with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2014 as the department's first state wildlife veterinarian. In that capacity, he worked with landowners, hunters, and biologists in the preservation of native wildlife. Dr. Dittmar was passionate about relocation efforts for bighorn sheep and pronghorns in Texas, as well as helping TPWD diagnose and respond to complex animal heath and disease issues.

Additionally, Dr. Dittmar was once a director of the Texas Wildlife Association, and he volunteered with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, Wildlife Health Working Group, Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force, institutional animal care and use committee for the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, animal translocation projects, and the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Dr. Dittmar is survived by wife Bernadine, son Robert “Trey” Otto Dittmar III, daughter Whitney Hild, sister Karen Haschke, brother Jerry Dittmar, and grandchildren Hayden and Paige Dittmar and Kimber and Levi Hild.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to the Hill Country District Junior Livestock Show Association, P.O. Box 291217, Kerrville, TX 78029-1217; the scholarship fund of the Kerr County Farm Bureau, 1813 Junction Highway, Kerrville, TX 78028; the Harper Volunteer Fire Department, 84 N. Ranch Road 783, Harper, TX 78631; the Doss Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 31, Doss, TX 78618; or any wildlife or conservation group.


Dr. Robert O. Dittmar II (Courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257, 7; 10.2460/javma.257.7.663



Dr. Biles (Oklahoma State ‘68), 86, Purcell, Oklahoma, died April 12, 2020. Following graduation, he established Westwood Veterinary Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma. Dr. Biles also ranched and raised Beefmaster cattle. He was a past president of Beefmaster Breeders United and the Central States Beefmaster Breeders Association. In 1992, the Norman Chamber of Commerce named Dr. Biles the Business Man of the Year. He was inducted into the BBU Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dr. Biles was a veteran of the Air Force. His wife, Carol; a son and a daughter; and five grandchildren survive him. Dr. Biles’ son, Dr.

David J. Biles (Oklahoma State ‘97), practices at Westwood Veterinary Hospital. Memorials may be made to Purcell Future Farmers of America, 2020 W. Green Ave., Purcell, OK 73080.


Dr. Bissonette (Washington State ‘61), 88, Pendleton, Oregon, died June 20, 2020. He coestablished Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic in Deer Lodge, Montana, where he practiced mixed animal medicine prior to retirement. Dr. Bissonette was a Navy veteran of the Korean War. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; two sons and two stepchildren; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.


Dr. Boggs (Michigan State ‘68), 75, Flint, Michigan, died June 5, 2020. A small animal veterinarian, he began his career in Appleton, Wisconsin. Dr. Boggs subsequently moved to Michigan, where he founded Heritage Veterinary Hospital in Flint. He was a member of the Michigan and Saginaw Valley VMAs.

Dr. Boggs is survived by four sons, 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Two sons, Drs. Nathan L. Boggs (Michigan State ‘97) and Chad L. Boggs (Michigan State ‘00), practice at Heritage Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Boggs’ late twin brother, Dr. George L. Boggs (Michigan State ‘68), was also a veterinarian in Michigan. Memorials may be made to Tanner Cemetery, c/o Heritage Veterinary Hospital, 5084 N. Genesee Road, Flint, MI 48506.


Dr. Burgess (California-Davis ‘61), 90, Hanford, California, died Feb. 9, 2020. From 1965 until retirement in 1995, he owned Hanford Veterinary Hospital. Earlier, Dr. Burgess worked in California at Merced, Lancaster, and Bakersfield. His daughter, two sons, 10 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and a sister and a brother survive him.


Dr. Cummings (Tuskegee ‘95), 57, Durham, North Carolina, died June 15, 2020. An ultrastructural pathologist who earned her doctorate in pathology in 2001 from Oklahoma State University, she founded UltraPath Imaging, an electron microscopy laboratory in Durham in 2009. Earlier in her career, Dr. Cummings served as a research technician at Duke University School of Medicine's Duke Radiation Oncology; was the manager of ultrastructural pathology at GlaxoSmithKline; served as a staff pathologist at Charles River Laboratories-Pathology Associates in Durham; and was an ultrastructural pathologist contractor for a company that provided electron microscopy services for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program.

She is survived by her husband, Gary Willmon; a stepdaughter; a stepgrandchild; and two sisters and a brother. Memorials may be made to Paws For Life, P.O. Box 338, Youngsville, NC 27596, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3902 Berini Drive, Durham, NC 27705.


Dr. Dougherty (Pennsylvania ‘62), 89, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, died June 27, 2020. Following graduation, he worked in Oxford, Pennsylvania, focusing on the care of dairy herds. In 1971, Dr. Dougherty moved to New London, Pennsylvania, where he established Crest View Animal Clinic, a mixed animal practice. He retired in 1997.

Dr. Dougherty was a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and Pennsylvania VMA. In 1984, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine honored him with a Centennial Award of Merit in recognition of outstanding contributions to veterinary medicine. An Army veteran of the Korean War, Dr. Dougherty received several honors, including the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars.

He is survived by his wife, Janet; a son and two daughters; six grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and a sister and three brothers. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 300 5th Ave., Suite 6, Waltham, MA 02451.


Dr. Elliston (Minnesota ‘64), 83, Amarillo, Texas, died June 28, 2020. From 1985 until retirement in 1999, she owned Evening Pet Clinic in Amarillo. Earlier in her career, Dr. Elliston worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, and Jensen-Salsbery Laboratories in Kansas City, Missouri, and served as a relief veterinarian in Minneapolis, the Kansas City area, Dallas, and Amarillo.

Her son, five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren survive her. Memorials, toward the Dr. Nolie G. Elliston Alpha Zeta High Freshman Scholarship Endowment, may be sent to Texas Tech University, Box 42123, Lubbock, TX 79409. Memorials may also be made to the General Scholarship Fund and sent to the Amarillo College Foundation, P.O. Box 447, Amarillo, TX 79178.


Dr. Garvin (Virginia-Maryland ‘87), 58, Sperryville, Virginia, died June 14, 2020. He worked for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Animal and Food Industry Services for 32 years, serving as program manager for the Office of Laboratory Services since 2003. Dr. Garvin supervised the operation of five regional animal health laboratories. He also served on several committees and was active in conducting outreach events for livestock producers and youth. In 2019, Dr. Garvin was recognized with the VDACS commissioner's Distinguished Service Award.

Active in his community, he was vice president of the board of directors for Nature Camp in Vesuvius, Virginia. Dr. Garvin is survived by his wife, Sue; two sons; his parents; and two sisters and a brother. Memorials, toward the Samuel B. Guss Memorial Fund, may be sent to the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, 1130 East Main St., Suite 302, Ashland, OH 44805, aasrp.org, or to Nature Camp Foundation, c/o Amy Wingfield Clark, P.O. Box 265, Studley, VA 23162, naturecampfoundation.org.


Dr. Powell (California-Davis ‘64), 80, Davis, California, died May 20, 2020. He was the founder of what was known as Veterinary Practice Limited to Cats in Sacramento, California, where he practiced for nearly three decades. Dr. Powell was a past president of the Sacramento Valley VMA. His daughter, son, and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials, notated toward the track and field team, may be sent to C.K. McClatchy High School, 3066 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95818, restoretheroar.org/donate. Memorials may also be made to the Pacific Whale Foundation, 300 Maalaea Road, Suite 211, Wailuku, HI 96793, jav.ma/pacificwhalefoundation.


Dr. Purdy (Ohio State ‘58), 93, Mount Vernon, Ohio, died June 15, 2020. He owned Hillside Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in Mount Vernon, prior to retirement in 1993. Dr. Purdy also served as an adjunct assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and raised Black Angus cattle.

He was a past president of the Ohio VMA and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association, was a past vice president of the Ohio Animal Foundation, and served on the OSU CVM Admissions Committee. Dr. Purdy was a member of the Knox County Cattlemen's Association and received its Outstanding Service Award in 1995 and Outstanding Cattleman of the Year Award in 1999. He also received the Ohio Animal Health Foundation's Distinguished Service Award in 1995.

Dr. Purdy served two terms on the board of directors of the Knox Community Hospital Foundation and was a member of the Mount Vernon Rotary Club and Masonic Lodge. A Navy veteran of World War II, he was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Dr. Purdy's wife, Diana; three sons, three daughters, and five stepchildren; 14 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren and several stepgreat-grandchildren survive him. Memorials, toward the College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1958 Scholarship Fund, may be made to The Ohio State University Foundation, 1480 W. Lane Ave., Columbus, OH 43221, jav.ma/OSUclassof1958.


Dr. Sacks (Brandeis Middlesex ‘44), 97, Northbrook, Illinois, died May 21, 2020. In 1951, he established Norwood Park Animal Hospital in Norridge, Illinois, where he practiced small animal medicine until retirement in 1992. Earlier, Dr. Sacks owned Rogers Park Animal Hospital in Chicago. He was a veteran of the Army. Dr. Sacks’ three daughters, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022, chicagobotanic.org; JourneyCare, 2050 Claire Court, Glenview, IL 60025, journeycare.org; or The Anti-Cruelty Society, 169 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654, anticruelty.org.


Dr. Sahlfeld (Oregon State ‘17), 32, Hillsboro, Oregon, died April 10, 2020. She most recently practiced small animal medicine in Beaverton, Oregon. Dr. Sahlfeld is survived by her family.

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