The 2022 annual meeting of AVMA voting members will be held at 9 a.m. CST on Jan. 7, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 N. Michigan Ave. As determined by the AVMA Board of Directors, the meeting will be held in conjunction with the regular winter session of the AVMA House of Delegates, during the plenary session of the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference.

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


The University of Michigan’s Biosciences Initiative is awarding $13.8 million over five years to the university’s new Michigan Center for Infectious Disease Threats.

Announced in October, the center will bring together UM researchers from various fields to work across disciplines on issues key to infectious disease preparedness and response, including developing the public health workforce, increasing laboratory capacity, and adding testing of zoonotic pathogens.

Overseeing the center is Aubree Gordon, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at UM’s School of Public Health. “The overall objective of the center is to connect researchers here on campus and better prepare the University of Michigan both locally and globally for pandemic preparedness and response, to create a community here on campus revolving around infectious disease,” Dr. Gordon said in a statement.

The university has “exceptionally strong programs” in many areas, such as virology, immunology, and bioengineering, required to make it a leader in emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, Dr. Gordon said.

Until now, there was no structure to align these efforts, added Roger Cone, PhD, director of the Biosciences Initiative. He said, “The (center) is a great example of what the initiative was designed to do: Bring together scientists across the breadth of UM to address critical emerging problems in the life sciences.”


The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation announced Nov. 1 that it has awarded $375,000 in grants for research on epilepsy in dogs.

Epilepsy is the most common neurologic disease in dogs. It is estimated that 30% of affected dogs continue to have seizures despite appropriate treatment, and many experience adverse effects from anti-seizure medications. To improve quality of life for affected dogs and their owners, the AKC Canine Health Foundation and its donors have invested more than $2.8 million since 1995 to study epilepsy in dogs.

The following research grants were newly awarded in 2021:

  • “Investigating neuronal network connectivity in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy using functional magnetic resonance imaging,” Dr. Karen R. Muñana, North Carolina State University.

  • “Validating genetic variants underlying canine idiopathic epilepsy and exploring their functional roles in the Belgian Sheepdog and Tervuren”; Anita M. Oberbauer, PhD; University of California-Davis.

  • “Assessment of frequency of seizures and antiseizure drug (ASD) efficacy by electroencephalography (EEG) for dogs with epilepsy,” Dr. Fiona James, University of Guelph.

  • “A dose finding study of cannabidiol in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy,” Dr. Stephanie McGrath, Colorado State University.

Fish medicine gaining veterinarians, who hope for specialty recognition

Leaders of fish medicine associations work to increase recognition from farmers and fellow veterinarians

By Greg Cima


A student at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine performs necropsies in 2016 at the veterinary college’s Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Lab. (Dr. Stephen Reichley/Mississippi State University)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

A growing corps of veterinarians in the U.S. is working on fish farms, in regulatory agencies that oversee aquaculture, and in aquaculture-adjacent fields such as diagnostics and health products. Participation in the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association’s Certified Aquatic Veterinarian Program has grown by an average of 30% annually in the past five years.

Dr. Stephen Reichley, WAVMA president, said the organization also adds two or three student WAVMA chapters each year.

The WAVMA and American Association of Fish Veterinarians are working to create a board specialty in fish medicine, which leaders of each organization say could maintain high standards of care and help show fish farmers the value of hiring veterinarians.

Dr. Johnny Shelley, president of the AAFV and veterinary medical officer in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Seafood Inspection Program, said in a message that the AAFV started work in 2013-14 on developing a recognized specialty that would encompass all of fish medicine, including aquaculture. Since 2020, the AAFV has been working with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners to update the 2014 proposal.

At press time, the AAFV planned to submit the updated proposal to the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners by Jan. 15 with a letter of intent on creation of a recognized veterinary specialty.

Dr. Reichley said that, while some companies and government agencies have struggled recently to attract aquaculture veterinarians, he thinks the current number of such veterinarians is probably enough to meet demand within the U.S. But that demand shows only willingness to hire veterinarians, and “the industry probably needs more than the industry recognizes,” he said.

Outside the U.S., Dr. Reichley said, most aquaculture production companies employ several veterinarians. Within the U.S., progressive production companies focused on animal health and welfare tend to hire veterinarians, but many others see only the costs of veterinarians and not the potential benefits.

Dr. Reichley recommends veterinarians improve how they market their full skill sets to aquaculture farmers and ensure those clients and potential clients see beyond the obligations to have veterinarians provide diagnostic testing, health certificates, and veterinary feed directives.

“Veterinarians and their training can provide tremendous resources and guidance for production companies in biosecurity, improved production practices, identification of production trends, and use of data to make better management decisions,” Dr. Reichley said.


As of 2018, the U.S. had around 2,900 aquaculture farms and about $1.5 billion in annual sales, according to the most recent Department of Agriculture Census of Aquaculture. The sales numbers exclude fish raised in facilities operated by government agencies to, say, restore native species or stock waterways for sport fishing.

The two biggest sectors in terms of sales are food fish production, with $716 million in sales, and mollusk farming, with $442 million.

Figures from the National Marine Fisheries Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also indicate U.S. aquaculture production reached 680 million pounds in 2018, and that figure is up about 8% from one year prior, according to the NOAA report Fisheries of the United States 2019, which is the most recent edition available. Atlantic salmon had the highest volume among finfish aquaculture, at 36.4 million pounds sold, and oysters had the highest value among shellfish aquaculture, at 44.7 million pounds.

Jake Veilleux, a fourth-year veterinary student at North Carolina State University, helped form the College of Veterinary Medicine’s student Swine, Poultry, and Aquaculture Club, which has hosted wet labs as well as lectures from veterinarians well established in aquaculture. Each event has drawn 20-25 students.

In addition to food animal–focused students, he said, “I think a lot of the zoo-focused students were coming to our meetings, kind of seeing hatchery medicine and aquaculture as a potential alternative to working in an aquarium.”

Dr. Reichley, who is also associate director of Mississippi State University’s Global Center for Aquatic Food Security, said the university’s aquatic animal health program is going through tremendous growth. He noted that catfish farming is the United States’ largest freshwater aquaculture industry, and Mississippi is its largest producer.

“I get interest all the time from colleges of veterinary medicine that don’t have an aquatic animal health program, that are interested in opportunities for their students, whether that’s delivering virtual lectures or students’ ability to come here for externships or rotations,” he said.

He also noted that he has seen a large number of recent job postings for veterinary technician positions in aquatic animal health. When companies recognize the value of veterinary technicians, he said, that drives growth for veterinarians.

About 20 years ago, Dr. Myron Kebus, Wisconsin’s state aquaculture veterinarian, proposed a program to train and deputize Wisconsin’s veterinarians to work with fish farms across the state. That project eventually led to work with his mentor, Dr. Michael Collins, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, to develop the Fish Health Medicine Certificate Program that was established in 2006 at the university.

More than 600 veterinarians and veterinary students have since gained certification through the program, which the AAFV took over earlier this year. Dr. Kebus estimates 95% of those certified work in the U.S.

“One of the challenges that veterinarians have in fish veterinary medicine is, unlike our colleagues in dog, cat, or poultry sectors, the public—including the fish farmers—aren’t as familiar with what veterinary training encompasses, what our skill assets are, and what we can provide,” Dr. Kebus said.


This summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a new set of aquaculture plans and standards that involves creating animal health modules through the National Veterinary Accreditation Program, coordinating export certification services, and adding pathogens of aquatic animals into the National Animal Health Reporting System and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. The document also describes the Comprehensive Aquaculture Health Program Standards, through which veterinarians lead animal disease investigations.

Dr. Esteban Soto Martinez, a professor of aquatic animal health at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said a growing number of companies have been hiring aquatic veterinarians over the past decade. He noted that state and federal regulatory changes during the last 10 years also made veterinarian oversight mandatory for diagnosis and treatment of many diseases.

In January 2017, Food and Drug Administration officials—in agreements with affected pharmaceutical companies—removed over-the-counter access to antimicrobials administered in feed or water. Accessing those drugs for administration to any food animals, including fish or mollusks, now requires a veterinary feed directive or prescription.

Developing a fish medicine specialty within veterinary medicine, Dr. Soto said, creates further opportunities to educate people about the skills of that segment of veterinary medicine. Within the profession, it also could help support mentoring programs, continuing education programs, and a high standard of care.

Dr. Ruth Francis-Floyd, a professor and extension veterinarian with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s Aquatic Animal Health Program and the UF School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatic Sciences, is among faculty members who are teaching aquaculture producers about the importance of establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship and how it can improve a company’s bottom line. The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is also funding training by Dr. Francis-Floyd and her colleagues at UF—Dr. Roy Yanong and Craig Watson—along with Dr. Kathleen Hartman of USDA APHIS, to train veterinarians in aquaculture practice. Florida’s certificate program in aquatic medicine includes aquaculture as part of a broader aquatic health curriculum at the veterinary college, and it’s one of the most popular certificate programs available to UF veterinary students, she said.

“Interest is certainly there on the veterinary side,” she said.

But she sees constraints on practice from veterinarians and producers.

Mobile practitioners can spend much of their time driving between farms, which cuts into time for services that bring income, Dr. Francis-Floyd said. The standard veterinary curriculum often lacks training specific to aquatic medicine. And fish or mollusk farmers often lack the means or knowledge to invest in veterinary services, even though those services can reduce overall costs and increase production.

“I think most people know it’s probably more profitable to stay in a small animal clinic and do surgery than it is to drive to a farm and do a site visit,” she said.

Dr. Francis-Floyd also noted that COVID-19 hurt many aquaculture companies when restaurants closed, and she knows of some farms that laid off their veterinarians and other animal health staff members.


Dr. Craig A. Harms, a professor with the NC State veterinary college’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, sees opportunities for aquatic veterinarians with federal and state government agencies—especially fisheries management roles—as well as in private companies. But he said the U.S. aquaculture industry has lagged in production in comparison with similar industries in other countries, such as Canada, Norway, and Scotland.

“I think maybe there’s a latent demand that, if we do ramp up aquaculture in the way I think we’re going to need to in the future, we will be short of aquatic veterinarians,” he said. “Right now, we’re probably not short. We’re probably just meeting” demand.

Dr. Reichley noted that NOAA officials have been working to find opportunities to expand offshore aquaculture. State and federal regulators, too, have been working to make regulations less burdensome.

Dr. Soto has seen some job openings for veterinary pathologists with an emphasis on aquatic animals, for example, remain open for years. Private, state, and federal hatcheries now need VCPRs for diagnostic services and veterinary leadership for animal health programs.

“Would I say there’s a ton of work out there for everyone? Probably not,” he said. “But are there opportunities out there for fish veterinarians? Absolutely, they are there.”

Veilleux is still deciding where he will fit in, whether that’s at a university, a diagnostic laboratory, or a natural resource agency. He sees potential for aquaculture industry expansion with private and government investment into seafood production as well as wildlife protection and conservation.

“I definitely see it as an exciting time to be getting into aquaculture as a vet,” he said. “And, from what I’ve experienced so far and heard from others, it’s only going to keep growing.”


By R. Scott Nolen

Public attitudes about veterinarians have been overwhelmingly positive during the coronavirus pandemic, as homebound pet owners grew more reliant on their animals for companionship and as a source of mental well-being.

The finding, which comes from a monthslong review of social media posts, helps to put news reports focused mostly on pandemic-related disruptions to veterinary services into perspective, according to Colleen Parr Dekker, executive director of global communications at Elanco Animal Health, who spoke at the AVMA Veterinary Business and Economic Forum, held virtually Oct. 14-16.

“Just because the media might be sharing a story about a topic doesn’t actually mean that the consumer really cares,” Dekker said.

Her presentation was based on data from the Elanco Pulse Institute, a social listening center that scans online conversations to understand consumer attitudes on a range of animal-related issues, including pet care, animal welfare, and veterinarians in general.

Data show pets took on new importance for many pet owners during the pandemic, helping to stave off a sense of isolation and alleviate loss of contact with friends and family. “Our pets really became central to our lives during COVID and our quarantine,” Dekker said. “They became our co-workers, they appeared on conference calls, and they became our entertainment.”

With the lockdown lifting and as people return to work, increasingly they are taking to social media to share how they and their pets are experiencing separation anxiety, she added.

If you listen to the news, the story is that pet owners are talking about long wait times to see a veterinarian or the challenges of adjusting to new routines, such as curbside drop-off and pickup. That’s not what the Elanco Pulse Center found, however. Dekker said pet owners are talking about pet adoption and pet insurance. They’re talking about their pet’s role in their mental health and their appreciation for veterinarians and their staff members.

“What they’re not talking about is long wait times, telehealth, and curbside drop-offs,” Dekker said.

Between May 2019 and February 2020, looking at social media posts in the U.S., the Elanco Pulse Institute found roughly 50,000 mostly neutral mentions about veterinarians daily. Then the COVID virus started sweeping across the nation, and in March 2020, veterinary mentions jumped to around 250,000 posts a day. While the bulk of the comments were primarily neutral, the number of positive remarks increased.

What are pet owners saying about veterinarians online? “They love you,” Dekker said. “They love what you’re doing. We see them posting about thanking their veterinarians for a job well done, recognizing you, and the role that you play, and what you do.

“Typically, when you see people take to social media, they do so to complain, but that’s not at all what’s happening when they go to social media to talk about their veterinarian.”


By Malinda Larkin

Burnout is a top challenge in the veterinary profession, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic because many clinics are busier than normal at the moment, said Clinton Neill, PhD, assistant professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Neill and his colleagues sought to assign a dollar value to what this occupational phenomenon is costing veterinary medicine. They found that veterinary medicine is leaving money on the table to the tune of an estimated $1 billion because of burnout.

“This will give clinics and hospitals and the entire profession a way to talk about this that is cohesive and make this an actionable item,” Dr. Neill said during his presentation, “Economic Cost of Burnout in Veterinary Medicine,” at the annual AVMA Veterinary Business and Economic Forum, held virtually Oct. 14-16.

“So it’s important to think about root problems now and change to hopefully have better long-term success for the profession,” Dr. Neill said.


The World Health Organization has defined burnout as a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Specifically, burnout has three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.

  • Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.

  • Reduced professional efficacy.

Burnout leads to actions that reduce the economic health of the profession, Dr. Neill said, affecting both the supply and demand for veterinary services, whether through decreases in consumer confidence and perceived quality of care or through employee turnover, reduction in working hours, and people exiting the profession. Burnout can have short- or long-term effects, including potentially hampering the recruitment of future veterinarians, he added.

According to data from the 2016, 2017, and 2018 AVMA Census of Veterinarians surveys, 50.2% of respondents were classified as having high burnout scores. Controlling for other variables, high educational debt was associated with high burnout. Veterinarians who spent 75% or more of their time working with dogs or cats had a higher burnout score than did those who spent less than 25% of their time working with dogs and cats. Veterinarians with more experience and higher annual incomes had lower burnout scores. And women had higher burnout scores than men did.

Dr. Neill and his group used this data to calculate burnout rates and then looked at the probability of turnover and reduced work hours because of burnout. The researchers accounted for costs of turnover resulting from replacement costs, including job postings, training, relocation reimbursement, and bonuses, as well as lost revenue from not having a veterinarian present to perform services or from reduced working hours.

The average total industry cost is $0.928 billion to $1.005 billion annually in lost revenue because of burnout among veterinarians. That amounts to about 2.1% of the total industry revenue for 2020. Put another way, that amount could pay for the class of 2020’s education two times over.

If veterinary technicians’ burnout is added to the equation, economic losses increase to about $1.93 billion annually. Dr. Neill said, “There’s a lot of techs out there, and burnout is also relatively high among them.”

The highest realized economic costs—or lost revenue—of burnout per veterinarian were seen in mixed animal practice, while the lowest realized economic costs of burnout per veterinarian were within food animal practice.


“If we can start solving those problems, there’s a lot more revenue to be made,” Dr. Neill said, adding that communication, workflow, and leadership are key to organizational interventions to reduce burnout. Examples include providing feedback and coaching as well as recognizing quality job performance.

Dr. Neill suggested the following action items to address burnout at the practice level:

  • Hold monthly meetings to focus on work-life challenges and difficult issues in management of patient care.

  • Improve workflow by offloading nonessential tasks to nonveterinarian staff members.

  • Remove bottlenecks in patient rooms with regard to medication reconciliation, vaccinations, and data entry.

  • Reduce time pressure with plans for future increases in visit time for primary care.

  • Institute a new prescription phone line to free up veterinary technicians if the practice has a pharmacy in house or other ways to distribute food or flea and tick medications.

  • Present work-life data as a platform to discuss issues within the clinic.

Dr. Neill said a calculator tool will be available in the near future for practices to determine the cost of burnout at their clinic.

Dr. Quincy Hawley, one of the masters of ceremonies for the AVMA Veterinary Business and Economic Forum, said, “Burnout may be real, but it doesn’t have to be the reality for you or your team members.”


Rude behavior at work, whether by clients or co-workers, can have harmful effects on employees’ emotional and physical health—as well as organizations. Currently, with many veterinary practices stretched to capacity or beyond and team members feeling overworked and stressed, rudeness makes a difficult situation even harder.

AVMA Axon has scheduled a special live webinar on the topic at noon CST on Dec. 16 to detail effective steps that can be taken to address angry behavior on the job. “When Work Hurts” will explore evidence-based strategies for preventing and diffusing rudeness in the veterinary workplace.

Jen Brandt, PhD, AVMA director of well-being, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, will lead the webinar and explore myths about rudeness on the job and solutions to address the problem. Among the topics to be explored are the following:

  • Why workplace rudeness is on the rise.

  • Why solutions aimed at trying to control other people’s behaviors generally aren’t effective.

  • Effective ways to address poor behavior.

  • How to apply knowledge of redirected aggression in animals to prevent and de-escalate displaced anger in clients and colleagues.

Survey finds underuse related to retention for veterinary technicians

Survey sought to discover factors related to veterinary technician usage, job satisfaction, and intent to stay in the industry

By Malinda Larkin

Preliminary results from a survey of veterinary technicians revealed that job satisfaction correlated with working directly with clients, feeling appreciated by their boss and co-workers, and years spent as a technician. Job satisfaction had a negative correlation with the number of places where a technician had previously worked.

When it came to retention, veterinary technicians who planned to remain as a technician were more likely to have graduated from a four-year, AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities–accredited program; to be accredited in more states; to have children at home; and to be overused. Veterinary technicians who did not plan to remain as a technician were more likely to have worked more places as a technician, to work more hours per week, to work at practices with more employees, and to be underused.

Dr. Lisa House, professor and chair in the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida, presented these findings during the presentation “Job Satisfaction Among Veterinary Technicians” at the AVMA Veterinary Business and Economic Forum, held virtually Oct. 14-16.


A survey by researchers at the University of Florida found a correlation between stress and busyness among veterinary technicians in practice. Of about 2,000 respondents, 92% reported being credentialed. On a scale of 1 to 10, about three-quarters of survey respondents said they were busy to very busy throughout the day, while over half indicated they were stressed to very stressed and couldn’t take breaks during the day.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Source: 2021 Florida Agricultural Market Research Center


The goal of the survey, conducted from late June through August this year, was to discover factors related to veterinary technician usage, job satisfaction, and intent to stay in the industry. Dr. House said she and her team were still analyzing the findings and that their overall goal was to examine barriers to utilization and the impact of misutilization on job satisfaction and retention. But how these factors interact still isn’t quite clear from the survey.

For example, the findings show that underuse does appear to be related to retention but possibly not job satisfaction. And the team found that self-reported underuse and an 18-question scale developed to more objectively measure underuse do not measure the exact same concept, so more analysis is needed on both perceptions and the quantitative measures used.

The researchers had the survey distributed by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America and the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. A survey link also was posted on VetTech Nation, a closed Facebook group for technicians. The final sample size was about 2,000 respondents, and about 92% of respondents reported being a credentialed veterinary technician.

One confounding factor, Dr. House said, was some confusion about not only requirements for being a credentialed veterinary technician but also differences between veterinary assistants and technicians. For example, 58 participants reported they were credentialed but reported not passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam or needing a state examination. And 48% of respondents reported equal times as being a veterinary assistant and veterinary technician, indicating respondents might not differentiate between these terms.

The researchers also found a significant correlation between stress and busyness. On a scale of 1 to 10, about three-quarters of survey respondents said they were busy to very busy throughout the day, while over half indicated they were stressed to very stressed and couldn’t take breaks during the day.

Almost 60% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their job is too physically demanding. And just over a third said they didn’t like their job. That said, 68% report planning to work as a veterinary technician until retirement, and 76% report they plan to stay in the veterinary industry until retirement.


When it comes to veterinary technician utilization, 37% of survey respondents said they were sometimes or frequently asked to perform medical tasks by their supervisor that they were not qualified or trained to do. However, 59% said they were sometimes or frequently asked to perform tasks that a lower-level person could do, and 57% said there are medical tasks they are qualified or trained to do but are sometimes or frequently not asked to perform by their supervisor.

Survey respondents who said they were busy were less likely to self-report being underused. On the 18-question scale of underuse, which asks veterinary technicians about tasks they perform, Hispanic respondents were less likely to score as being underused, and respondents who were female and had worked at more places as a technician were more likely to score as being underused.

Respondents who scored as underused on the 18-question scale were less likely to self-report being underused, although the relationship is very weak. Dr. House said either the scale is not capturing underuse, or it is measuring something different than the feeling of underuse, and this issue was something the team would look into more.


The AVMA launched a nationwide education and awareness campaign in November to encourage veterinary teams, their clients, and the general public to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We want our veterinary staff, animal owners and our communities to be safe and healthy, and that’s why we join our colleagues in human medicine and science in actively promoting the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. José Arce, AVMA president, in an announcement about the campaign.

The effort was encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because the agency recognizes the key role of veterinarians in society and public health.

“Veterinary medicine has a clear public health mission,” Dr. Arce noted. “In fact, when we take our Oath, we specifically commit to the ‘promotion of public health.’ Encouraging preventive health care, including vaccination, is part of that commitment. Especially with flu season underway and the approach of winter, we strongly encourage vaccination to protect overall public well-being.”

It is estimated on the basis of survey findings that approximately 90% of AVMA members are already vaccinated. This demonstrates the value that veterinarians place on preventive care and their confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, according to the AVMA.

The campaign, scheduled to run through late December, includes a wide range of print and digital materials available to AVMA members, such as posters, social media images, a client handout, and tips on talking with clients. The materials encourage staff members, animal owners, and the public to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The resources can be accessed at jav.ma/vaccine.

“Veterinarians are healthcare providers trusted not only by their clients but by the public at large, we understand the power of vaccines, and we have been enlisted as COVID vaccination providers in some areas,” said Dr. Arce, who is a practicing veterinarian in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “We recognize that vaccination is a choice and that not everyone may be able to receive one. But we are uniquely qualified to share the importance of preventing and controlling disease in both animals and people. Protecting public health is part of a veterinarian’s responsibility and appropriate preventive care, including vaccinations, goes a long way towards protecting public health.”


A new policy would provide the AVMA’s perspective on the collection of antimicrobial use data to help combat drug resistance.

The AVMA House of Delegates will consider the new policy along with other policy changes during the regular winter session of the HOD, Jan. 7-8 in Chicago. The AVMA Board of Directors submitted the resolutions.

The AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials proposed the new policy on collection of antimicrobial use data. The committee assists with developing much of the AVMA’s comments to external stakeholders in response to questions about antimicrobial use. Many of the documents that the committee has been asked to review and a substantive number of inquiries received seek information about the AVMA’s perspective on collecting data on antimicrobial use and how the data collected might be used to support antimicrobial stewardship.

The committee developed the proposed policy as guidance for the collection of antimicrobial use data and to encourage veterinarians and key stakeholders to collaboratively and appropriately use this data to promote antimicrobial stewardship. The policy describes best practices for collecting antimicrobial use data, what should be considered during data analysis, and how the data might be used to inform and advance veterinary clinical decision-making.

The HOD also will consider revisions to the policies on “Rabies” and “Annual Rabies Vaccination Waiver.” The AVMA Council on Public Health recommends revising the rabies policy to, in part, emphasize that rabies infection is almost invariably fatal and that vaccination of animals is a critical step in preventing infection and protecting public health.

The council recommends revising the policy on vaccination waivers to support communication to clients that unvaccinated animals are at risk of rabies infection if a confirmed or suspected exposure occurs and to convey that under certain conditions of exposure, if a client has requested and been granted a waiver for a rabies vaccine for an animal, euthanasia of the animal may be included in recommendations or required under certain public health regulations.


Antimicrobial susceptibility testing

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

In another recommendation, the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee proposes restructuring the policy on “Food Safety” regarding foods of animal origin, partly by incorporating the policy on “U.S.-Banned Drugs Used by Exporting Countries.”

Finally, the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service recommends revising the policy on “Guidelines for Classifying Veterinary Facilities” to make minor changes for consistency of wording and to add definitions for urgent care facilities and offices. An outpatient or urgent care facility would be defined as a facility that may admit patients for the short term but where all patients are discharged at the end of the workday. An office would be defined as a facility where limited or consultative practice is conducted and that provides no facilities for housing patients.

The HOD will have to waive the requirement for 60-day notice to consider the recommendations on the policies regarding antimicrobial use data and the classification of veterinary facilities.


The nomination period is open for the following AVMA Excellence Awards for 2022. The awards program recognizes contributions by veterinarians and nonveterinarians to the veterinary profession and to animal health and welfare.


This award recognizes a distinguished AVMA member who has contributed to the advancement of veterinary medicine in its organizational aspects.


This award recognizes an individual for contributions to advancing the AVMA’s legislative agenda and advocating on behalf of the veterinary profession.


This award recognizes an AVMA member for achievements in advancing the welfare of animals via leadership, public service, education, research, product development, or advocacy.


This award honors an AVMA member’s long-term contribution to the field of canine research.


This award recognizes a veterinarian for achievements in patient-oriented research, including the study of mechanisms of disease, therapeutic interventions, clinical trials, development of new technologies, and epidemiological studies.


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


This award recognizes a nonveterinarian for achievements in advancing the welfare of animals via leadership, public service, education, research, product development, or advocacy.


This award recognizes a veterinarian researcher on the basis of lifetime achievement in basic, applied, or clinical research. Nominees will be considered on the total impact that their careers have had on the veterinary or biomedical professions.


This award recognizes a veterinarian who has brought honor and distinction to the veterinary profession through personal, professional, or community service activities outside the scope of organized veterinary medicine or research.


This award recognizes an AVMA member for long terms of outstanding public service or unusual contributions to the practice or science of public health and regulatory veterinary medicine.


This award, established by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and the EveryCat Health Foundation, recognizes an individual’s contribution to advancing feline health through research.


This award recognizes a distinguished member of the veterinary profession for outstanding work in preserving and protecting the human-animal bond.


The deadline for all award nominations is Feb. 16, 2022. Award information and the nomination form are available at avma.org/awards. Email avma-awards@avma.org with any questions or if assistance is needed.


The field of veterinary regenerative medicine, which uses material from animal cells and tissues—such as living cells, serum, or bone—is rapidly changing the way care is being delivered to patients. This sector uses these animal products with the goal of repairing diseased or damaged tissues or organs.

For example, platelet-rich plasma is believed to stimulate repair of tendon injuries. PRP can also be injected directly into a joint to treat osteoarthritis, most often in horses.

The Food and Drug Administration posted a prerecorded webinar this fall explaining draft guidance documents on good manufacturing practices and donor eligibility for these animal cells, tissues, and cell- and tissue-based products, also known as ACTPs.

The webinar is an in-depth explanation of two draft guidance documents issued by the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine and published this past September in the Federal Register, which provided product-specific recommendations to help developers of ACTPs meet FDA manufacturing requirements.

The first document, “Good Manufacturing Practices for Animal Cells, Tissues, and Cell- and Tissue-Based Products,” is a series of recommendations for meeting requirements for current good manufacturing practices.

The second document, “Donor Eligibility for Animal Cells, Tissues, and Cell- and Tissue-Based Products,” assists organizations or individuals that participate in the manufacture of ACTPs or perform any aspect of ACTP donor eligibility determination by providing the Center for Veterinary Medicine’s recommendations on screening, testing, and selecting appropriate donors.

The FDA CVM explained in the guidance document that “ACTPs that are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or are intended to affect the structure or function of the animal generally meet the definition of a new animal drug.”

All new animal drugs, including ACTPs, have to meet the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act regarding safety and must have the identity, strength, quality, and purity characteristics that they claim—which is why donor eligibility is critical to ensuring safety and quality when manufacturing ACTPs, the CVM explained.

The webinar will remain available at jav.ma/ACTPs as a resource for developers of ACTPs. Stakeholders can submit questions to FDA-CVM-Animal-Biotechnology-Feedback@fda.hhs.gov. More information from the FDA on ACTPs is available at jav.ma/regenmed.


At least 25,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from a pipeline off the coast of Huntington Beach, which is southeast of Los Angeles. Responders with the University of California-Davis–led Oiled Wildlife Care Network worked to save 34 birds recovered alive, as well as a North Atlantic right whale and a western side-blotched lizard also found oiled but alive, according to data from UC-Davis. The responders also recovered the carcasses of 82 birds, six marine mammals, and at least nine fish.

UC-Davis information indicates the spill occurred between birds’ nesting season and migratory season, when relatively few birds were living nearby.

The UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine leads and manages the network in a partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Photos courtesy of UC-Davis)


By Katie Burns


Sniper, a search and rescue dog, works on rubble. (Photo by Shelby Wise)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

The American Animal Hospital Association has released the 2021 AAHA Working, Assistance, and Therapy Dog Guidelines, described in the abstract as the first comprehensive consensus report on veterinary recommendations for working, assistance, and therapy dogs.

“Working and service dogs play an important role in our society,” said Dr. Cynthia M. Otto, chair of the task force that developed the guidelines and director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “These dogs have special tasks that increase safety of people and our environment and independence of individuals with service dogs.”

Dr. Otto said veterinarians are not always aware of the unique talents or requirements of these dogs and their handlers or owners. She said, “Working dogs have occupational hazards that we need to recognize in order to provide the best preventive care, client education, and readiness for treatment.”

Communication with the handler or owner represents a unique and important dynamic, Dr. Otto continued. She said, “Providing guidelines for the care of working and assistance dogs will increase the satisfaction of both the veterinary team and the dog team, while providing the most directed care of these invaluable dogs.”

According to the abstract, “The guidelines discuss recommendations for dogs trained for protection, odor/scent detection, service functions for people with diagnosed disabilities or physical limitations, emotional support, and therapeutic intervention.” For each category, the guidelines provide a definition, examples, relevant information for practitioners, a description of the dogs’ work, and considerations for medical care. One section of the guidelines covers education and training of the practice team. An extensive table summarizes recommendations for health care.

Dr. Otto emphasized the use of low-stress handling for these dogs and the incorporation of the handler or owner into treatment.

She added that the guidelines are only the beginning of providing optimal care. She said, “Veterinarians involved with these dogs can pursue additional resources and training to ensure that they are providing the best possible care.”


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture within the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in November that it had awarded $2.8 million in grants to support rural veterinary services though the Veterinary Services Grant Program.

One of the grants provides $165,683 for the educational project “Targeted training for veterinary students in goat medicine and production” at Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black university in Prairie View, Texas.

“The requirement to provide adequate veterinary care to these unique small ruminants has increased, but the opportunities for veterinary students to receive directed, intensive training in goat medicine are limited,” according to the project summary. “This project offers to address that deficiency by providing funds to cover travel and living arrangements to enable veterinary students in their clinical training year to participate in an externship at Prairie View A&M University’s International Goat Research Center.” The project also will create goat models to allow veterinary students to practice surgical procedures.

Grants went to another six educational projects:


Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black university in Prairie View, Texas, received a grant of $165,683 through the federal Veterinary Services Grant Program for the project “Targeted training for veterinary students in goat medicine and production.”

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

  • “CSU-UAF Hub Outpost Project: Educating for veterinary success in rural communities,” Colorado State University working with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

  • “Veterinary microbiology residency program at the University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.”

  • “Expanding rural veterinary practice through continuing education in organic and non-conventional livestock,” Iowa State University.

  • “Developing a food animal veterinary toxicology training program at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.”

  • “Moving from meows to moos; recruiting teens to food animal veterinary medicine through education, experience, and engagement,” The Ohio State University.

  • “Training the veterinary public practitioner,” Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Grants also went to the following 10 rural practices or practitioners:

  • Urban Livestock and Equine Veterinary Services LLC, San Tan Valley, Arizona.

  • Dr. Amy Fousek, Weed, California.

  • Animal Clinic West O Street PC, Ogallala, Nebraska.

  • GKW Blue Valley Inc., Beatrice, Nebraska.

  • Twin Forks Clinic Inc., Benkelman, Nebraska.

  • Ellis County Animal Hospital Inc., Shattuck, Oklahoma.

  • Headwaters Veterinary Service, Coudersport, Pennsylvania.

  • Miller Veterinary Clinic PC, Miller, South Dakota.

  • Playa Veterinary Associates PLLC, Panhandle, Texas.

  • Old Dominion Veterinary Services LLC, Ruther Glen, Virginia.

Model aims to increase access to veterinary care

AlignCare pilot receives funding to continue work

By R. Scott Nolen

In 2018, the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition issued a report stating millions of low-income families could not afford veterinary care for their pets, constituting what the coalition described as “arguably the most significant animal welfare crisis affecting owned pets in the United States.”

The report ultimately led to AlignCare, a model for improving access to veterinary care and addressing the needs of people and their pets through a network of veterinarians, animal welfare organizations, veterinary social workers, and local resources.

AlignCare is the work of the Program for Pet Health Equity, established at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to address the problems identified in the AVCC report. During a virtual summit held Oct. 11-12, PPHE staff presented preliminary findings from the yearlong pilot phase of AlignCare in several communities across the country.

“We got to AlignCare through three years of research and development into a health care system intended to reach underserved families, knowing that finances would be the primary barrier,” Dr. Michael Blackwell told JAVMA News following the summit. Dr. Blackwell is director of the PPHE and a former assistant U.S. surgeon general.

Access to veterinary care can’t be improved without first considering the reality of the pet owners who face barriers, he said.

“They are largely defined by low socioeconomics. They are the working poor,” Dr. Blackwell said. “We understand the barriers they face are a result of their low socioeconomic status—and that’s more than lack of money. It can also be a lack of transportation or a language barrier.”


According to the AVMA’s 2021 survey of pet and pet owner demographics (data not yet published), about 24% of dog owners and 35% of cat owners don’t bring their dogs or cats to see a veterinarian at least once a year. The primary reasons given relate to the perceived value of that care and affordability. Less than 10% of respondents said it was because of inconvenience or a veterinarian not being available to them. This means that, of the roughly 150 million cats and dogs in the U.S., over 37 million are not getting regular veterinary care because of cost. Either their owners cannot afford veterinary care, or they don’t value that care sufficiently to pay what it costs.

AlignCare partners with existing veterinary practices in communities where the need for veterinary services is great.

“We wanted to make it as easy as possible on veterinarians,” said T’ Fisher, PPHE’s director of operations, after the summit. “We know they already have a lot on their plate, so we wanted to make AlignCare just another tool in their toolbox to help members of their community who cannot afford veterinary care for their pet.”

During AlignCare’s pilot phase, which ran March 2020 to June 2021, the participants were 25 practices in nine communities: Spokane, Washington; Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada; Phoenix; Buffalo and Long Island in New York; Asheville and Raleigh in North Carolina; and Knoxville, Tennessee.

“We’re still in the process of analyzing all that data to see where we go from here,” Fisher said.

Shortly after the virtual summit, Maddie’s Fund announced it was awarding $3.4 million to the PPHE to expand AlignCare’s national reach.

To be eligible to receive AlignCare assistance, pet owners must be receiving some means-tested public assistance, such as Medicaid or food stamps.

Just over 1,230 families are currently enrolled in AlignCare, according to Fisher. When they are approved, families receive an email with a list of veterinarians in the community partnered with AlignCare whom they can contact for an appointment.

Clients are responsible for a 20% copay at the time of the visit. The practice invoices AlignCare for the remaining 80%, which is “a little bit different for our veterinary practitioners because they are not used to dealing with third-party payers,” Fisher said.

Most families can cover the copay, but for families that can’t, AlignCare has partnered with local animal welfare organizations able to help cover those costs. Families and pets can continue to benefit from that relationship with the organization, which may also offer free or low-cost vaccinations and neutering, according to Fisher.


Local social service agencies are an essential component of the AlignCare model. They identify eligible families needing veterinary care. They are responsible for introducing the family to AlignCare, screening the family for eligibility, and referring the family to the veterinary social work coordinator for AlignCare enrollment.

Veterinary social workers are key to helping with communication between the family and veterinary practice staff, Fisher explained.

“We can help them (the veterinary practice staff) with that, explaining to a family why a certain procedure costs as much as it does,” she said, “but also we’re there to help veterinary service providers and their staff deal with the stresses of the job.”


Dr. Blackwell hopes AlignCare is the catalyst for what he believes is a much-needed paradigm shift within the delivery of veterinary services. The current system, he said, is largely a cash-based system in which insurance companies—which could greatly help low-income pet owners—play too small a role.

Another component about AlignCare is the language it uses. Its enrollees are identified as “bonded families” in acknowledgment of the reality that most Americans think of their pets as a member of the family.

“These are not animals. These are nonhuman family members,” Dr. Blackwell said. “We’ve got to get away from this animal-centric posture. If we just started to think about ourselves as in the business of providing health care to families, that starts to change a lot about how we see our role and how we talk about what we do.”




Virtual meeting, Oct. 14


AAFSPHV Veterinarian of the Year

Dr. Joni Scheftel

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Dr. Joni Scheftel (Minnesota ’82), Mayer, Minnesota, won this award, given each year in recognition of a veterinarian’s outstanding accomplishments in the fields of veterinary food safety and public health. Dr. Scheftel is Minnesota’s state public health veterinarian and leads the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health, overseeing zoonotic disease surveillance and zoonotic disease outbreak investigation. She also serves as a liaison between the Department of Health and Minnesota’s animal agriculture agencies for issues that intersect human and animal health. Dr. Scheftel is a co-founder of the Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions for Zoonotic Disease Prevention in Veterinary Personnel and chairs the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials. For Minnesota’s COVID-19 response, she co-leads the Workplaces Team. From 2011-15, Dr. Scheftel chaired the AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials.


The AAFSPHV provided members with an update on the organization’s work during the past year. The association sponsored symposia on food safety at the annual conventions of the AVMA and the United States Animal Health Association. Monthly continuing education webinars on food safety, one health, and public health are being provided in partnership with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, National Association of Federal Veterinarians, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and USAHA. Dr. Katherine Waters, executive vice president of the AAFSPHV, reported on membership and finances. Drs. Paulo Mohyla and Bonnie Buntain, who represent the association on the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee and AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee, respectively, provided updates on the activities of those committees. Dr. Kristen Obbink, AAFSPHV delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates, also provided an update on her work with the HOD. In 2021, the AAFSPHV newsletter and the Electronic News o Gram, a compendium of public health and food safety abstracts, were merged to create AAFSPHV Quarterly. The AAFSPHV is establishing the Dr. Daniel E. Lafontaine Memorial Scholarship, in honor of Dr. Lafontaine, a founding member of the association, who died Feb. 24, 2021 (see obituary, June 15, 2021, JAVMA, page 1315). The scholarship will provide tuition support to students and veterinarians working on a veterinary or master’s degree with an emphasis on food safety and public health.



Dr. Donna DeBonis

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369


Dr. Angela Demaree

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Drs. Donna DeBonis, Oak Harbor, Washington, president; Angela Demaree, Indianapolis, president-elect; Catherine Alexander, Fort Collins, Colorado, recording secretary; Kelly Vest, Blackwell, Oklahoma, treasurer; Jennifer Wishnie, Seattle, immediate past president; Katherine Waters, Denver, executive vice president and AVMA alternate delegate; Kristen Obbink, Ames, Iowa, AVMA delegate; and directors—Drs. Roger Murphy, Raleigh, North Carolina; Van H. Brass II, Phoenix; Renee Funk, Atlanta; Mike Gilsdorf, Sykesville, Maryland; Kristen Obbink, Ames, Iowa; and Pamela Abney, Millsboro, Delaware



Hybrid in-person and virtual annual meeting, Lexington, Kentucky, June 19-22


The theme of the meeting was “Current Challenges and the Avenues Ahead.” Prerecorded plenary and sponsored presentations were featured during the first three days of the meeting, with presenters answering questions in real time. Winners of the AAVP–Boehringer Ingelheim Distinguished Veterinary Parasitologist Award, AAVP-Merck Animal Health Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, and AAVP–William C. Campbell One Health Award also made presentations at the meeting. Prerecorded videos of additional oral and poster presentations were made available on a dedicated website, while in-person attendees made their presentations during live sessions at the meeting. Entries for the student competitions were judged in the weeks following the meeting.


AAVP–Boehringer Ingelheim Distinguished Veterinary Parasitologist Award


Dr. Andrew S. Peregrine

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Dr. Andrew S. Peregrine (Glasgow ’84), Guelph, Ontario. Dr. Peregrine earned his doctorate in veterinary parasitology in 1987 from the University of Glasgow. He has taught clinical parasitology and conducted research since 1997 at the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College. Dr. Peregrine’s research seeks to define the epidemiology and impact of a broad range of parasites of veterinary and zoonotic importance. Earlier, he worked as a postdoctoral/research scientist at the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases in Nairobi, Kenya.

AAVP–William C. Campbell One Health Award


Dr. Michael J. Yabsley

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Michael J. Yabsley, PhD, Athens, Georgia. Dr. Yabsley earned his doctorate in infectious diseases in 2004 from the University of Georgia. He is a professor of wildlife diseases and manages an interdisciplinary research program that addresses applied and theoretical questions on the epidemiology of wildlife diseases. Dr. Yabsley’s research focuses on pathogens that are zoonotic or important to the health of domestic animals and agriculturally important species. His studies are approached from a one-health perspective, aiming to understand the impact of disease on animals, humans, and the environment.

AAVP-Merck Animal Health Outstanding Graduate Student Award


Jeffrey M. Gruntmeir

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Jeffrey M. Gruntmeir, PhD, Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Gruntmeir earned his doctorate in parasitology in 2021 from the University of Florida. Dr. Gruntmeir’s research interests include tick surveillance and testing for tick-borne diseases. He is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Southeastern Center of Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases in Gainesville.

AAVP–Companion Animal Parasite Council Graduate Student Award in Zoonotic Disease


Dr. Kathryn Duncan

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Dr. Kathryn Duncan (Tennessee ’18), Stillwater, Oklahoma. Dr. Duncan is pursuing her doctorate and completing a residency program in veterinary clinical parasitology at Oklahoma State University. Her research is focused on ticks and tick-borne diseases of veterinary importance, heartworm disease, and the diagnosis and treatment of intestinal parasites of domestic animals, including several parasites of zoonotic importance.



Dr. Martin Nielsen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369


Dr. Antoinette Marsh

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

Drs. Martin Nielsen, Lexington, Kentucky, president; Antoinette Marsh, Columbus, Ohio, president-elect and 2022 program chair; Jennifer Ketzis, Basseterre, St. Kitts, vice president; Adriano Vatta, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, secretary-treasurer; Alan Marchiondo, Santa Fe, New Mexico, executive secretary; Doug Carithers, Duluth, Georgia, immediate past president; and student representatives—Drs. Julie Thompson, New Orleans, and Leonor Sicalo Gianechini, Athens, Georgia


The following individuals are winners of the 2021 Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award and Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence. The Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award is given to educators in recognition of their character and leadership qualities as well as their outstanding teaching abilities. The Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence recognizes researchers whose innovative studies have advanced the scientific standing of veterinary medicine.


Robert Cole, DVM, Auburn University

Anna Fails, DVM, PhD, Colorado State University

Jamie Kopper, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University

Justin D. Thomason, DVM, Kansas State University

Lisa Ebner, DVM, Lincoln Memorial University

Tara Piech, DVM, Long Island University

David G. Baker, DVM, PhD, Louisiana State University

Marie J. Hopfensperger, DVM, Michigan State University

Nicholas J. Haley, DVM, PhD, Midwestern University

Alyssa D. Sullivant, DVM, Mississippi State University

Laura L. Nelson, DVM, North Carolina State University

Jennifer Rudd, DVM, PhD, Oklahoma State University

Sean Spagnoli, DVM, PhD, Oregon State University

Kevin M. Hannon, PhD, Purdue University

Ryan P. Cavanaugh, DVM, Ross University

L. Nicki Wise, DVM, PhD, St. George’s University

Cheryl L. Herman, DVM, Texas A&M University

Andrew S. Bowman, DVM, PhD, The Ohio State University

Christopher M. Schonhoff, PhD, Tufts University

Courtney O. Allred, DVM, Tuskegee University

Verena K. Affolter, DVM, PhD, University of California-Davis

Luisito S. Pablo, DVM, University of Florida

Kevin Clarke, DVM, University of Georgia

Heidi Phillips, VMD, University of Illinois

Erin Malone, PhD, University of Minnesota

Erica Malone, PhD, University of Missouri

Vincent J. Thawley, VMD, University of Pennsylvania

Daniel A. Ward, DVM, PhD, University of Tennessee

Starr Cameron, BVetMed, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jennifer Davis, DVM, PhD, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Sarah Crilly Guess, DVM, Washington State University

Maria Fahie, DVM, Western University of Health Sciences


Chengming Wang, DVM, PhD, Auburn University

Angela Bosco-Lauth, DVM, PhD, Colorado State University

Heidi L. Reesink, VMD, PhD, Cornell University

Jodi D. Smith, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University

Butch KuKanich, DVM, PhD, Kansas State University

Karen Gruszynski, DVM, PhD, Lincoln Memorial University

Thomas J. Inzana, PhD, Long Island University

Weishan Huang, PhD, Louisiana State University

G. Andres Contreras, DVM, PhD, Michigan State University

Jared Jaffey, DVM, Midwestern University

Amelia R. Woolums, DVM, PhD, Mississippi State University

Brian C. Gilger, DVM, North Carolina State University

Madhan Subramanian, BVSc, PhD, Oklahoma State University

Marguerite Elizabeth O’Haire, PhD, Purdue University

Souvik Ghosh, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, Ross University

Daniel Fitzpatrick, MSc, St. George’s University

Sarah A. Hamer, DVM, PhD, Texas A&M University

Greg Habing, DVM, PhD, The Ohio State University

Gillian Beamer, PhD, VMD, Tufts University

Gemechu Wirtu, DVM, PhD, Tuskegee University

Carrie Finno, DVM, PhD, University of California-Davis

Leah R. Reznikov, PhD, University of Florida

Daniel Perez, PhD, University of Georgia

Makoto Inoue, PhD, University of Illinois

Fang Li, PhD, University of Minnesota

David D. Kline, PhD, University of Missouri

Boris Striepen, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Angela Witzel Rollins, DVM, PhD, University of Tennessee

Thomas Friedrich, PhD, University of Wisconsin

Linda A. Dahlgren, DVM, PhD, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Jean Celli, PhD, Washington State University

Mohammad Mir, PhD, Western University of Health Sciences


Dr. James Brandt, 2001-02 AVMA president, dies at 87

By R. Scott Nolen

Dr. James H. Brandt was studying to be an engineer when his pet dog was hit by a car. He wanted to help the injured animal but didn’t know what to do. Dr. Brandt didn’t like feeling helpless, so he dropped engineering for veterinary medicine.

Years later, Dr. Brandt owned and operated several small animal practices in Florida and was recognized as a leader within the veterinary profession.


Dr. James H. Brandt

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 12; 10.2460/javma.259.12.1369

As AVMA president in 2001-02, Dr. Brandt had the foresight to steer the Association’s attention toward improving the economic health of the veterinary industry. During the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he spoke for a profession that grieved with the nation.

“When we acknowledge and discuss leadership in the Florida VMA, the AVMA, and the world, we always end the conversation with ‘leadership by example.’ There was no greater example than Dr. James Brandt,” said Dr. Richard Sutliff, FVMA president.

Dr. Brandt died Oct. 25 in the company of his wife, Pat, and son, Hadley. He was 87.

Dr. Brandt was born on Oct. 1, 1934, in McPherson, Kansas, and married Patty Sue Hasemeier in 1955. After receiving his veterinary degree in 1964 from Oklahoma State University, Dr. Brandt moved to Florida with Pat and their son. He owned and operated small animal practices in Nokomis and Venice until his retirement in 1997.

He was highly active in organized veterinary medicine. He told JAVMA News in 2013, “Participation seemed to make me feel more involved in the profession and actually made practice that much more enjoyable.”

Dr. Brandt served as president of the Southwest Florida VMA in 1972 and of the FVMA in 1990. He was also a member of the AVMA House of Delegates, serving as Florida’s delegate or alternate delegate from 1989 until his election as AVMA president-elect in 2000.

Regarding being AVMA president during the 9/11 attacks, Dr. Brandt told JAVMA News, the events “created a personal anticipatory anxiety that cast a cloud over the experience, but overall being president was an experience that I would never trade with anybody.”

Following his tenure as AVMA president, Dr. Brandt was elected chair of the AVMA Board of Directors and oversaw the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust, now known as AVMA Life.

In 2013, he received the AVMA Award—the Association’s highest accolade—for his years of service to the profession.

Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA CEO and executive vice president, said Dr. Brandt was a true friend and champion for the profession.

“In his many years of dedicated service to AVMA in a variety of roles, his concern for people and their families was always a focus. He had a deep respect for the variety of roles veterinarians play in society and was also a passionate champion of veterinary technicians and support staff,” she said. “He had a wonderful sense of humor and would get a twinkle in his eye when talking about veterinary medicine—and that certainly helped during challenging times.

“He and his wife, Pat, were wonderful ambassadors as they traveled the country and indeed the world on behalf of AVMA. He was widely respected and will be deeply missed.”

Dr. Brandt’s impact on the veterinary profession is evident even now. AVMA President José Arce credited his participation in organized veterinary medicine to Dr. Brandt. “I first met Jim Brandt during the 2000 Veterinary Leadership Conference, which I attended as a recent graduate,” Dr. Arce recalled.

“He encouraged me to get involved in the AVMA and organized veterinary medicine. He was truly passionate about our profession and treated everyone with dignity and respect. Jim was a leader of leaders, and will be greatly missed.”

Dr. Ernest Godfrey, Florida’s delegate to the HOD, said: “Jim Brandt was a special person. He always treated everyone like they were important, especially to him. He and Pat were a great couple. They served the veterinary profession, the FVMA, and AVMA for many years. We will all miss him.”

In addition to his wife and son, Dr. Brandt is survived by three grandchildren, a sister, and two brothers.

Memorials may be made to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173, or St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 508 Riviera St., Venice, FL 34285.



Dr. Andresen (Cornell ’66), 80, Aquebogue, New York, died Oct. 9, 2021. Following graduation, he moved to eastern Long Island in New York and began his career in large animal medicine at Riverhead Animal Hospital. In 1994, Dr. Andresen co-established Mattituck-Laurel Veterinary Hospital in Laurel, New York. He also farmed and raised Percheron horses and Saanen goats. Dr. Andresen is survived by his wife, Maribeth; two daughters and a son; 11 grandchildren; his mother; and a sister and a brother.


Dr. Chmaitelli (Texas A&M ’00), 45, Houston, died Aug. 15, 2021. Following graduation, he worked at large animal and equine practices in Texas before establishing a mixed animal practice in Carthage, Texas. In 2015, Dr. Chmaitelli founded Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic, a small animal practice in Houston. He also owned A to Z Exotics & Capture, providing services to African game ranches across the state.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Chmaitelli served on the Texas VMA board of directors, representing Harris County, and was a member of the TVMA Governmental Relations Committee. He also served on the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee for the city of Houston. Dr. Chmaitelli’s mother and sister survive him. Memorials may be made to Friends for Life Shelter, Don Sanders Adoption Center, 107 E. 22nd St., Houston, TX 77008, friends4life.org, or Not One More Vet, P.O. Box 426656, San Francisco, CA 94142, nomv.org.


Dr. Cyphers (Louisiana State ’85), 66, Hot Springs, Arkansas, died Sept. 5, 2021. Following graduation, he moved to Hot Springs, where he co-established Cyphers Veterinary Hospital with his former wife, Dr. Viki Cyphers (Louisiana State ’85), working there until the practice was sold in 2011. Dr. Cyphers also served as track veterinarian at Oaklawn Park racetrack from 1990. He is survived by his wife, Kristi; two sons and a daughter; two grandchildren; and three siblings.


Dr. Dejnozka (Florida ’86), 65, Palm Harbor, Florida, died Sept. 15, 2021. He practiced in the Tampa Bay area of Florida for more than 20 years, most recently at Southpaw Animal Health in Tampa. Dr. Dejnozka is survived by a brother and a sister. Memorials, with the memo line of the check notated to the Tampa Bay Kennel Club Veterinary Medicine Scholarship #025835, may be made to the University of Florida Foundation Inc., Advancement Office, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 100125, Gainesville, FL 32610, jav.ma/tbkcscholarship.


Dr. Dennard (Georgia ’64), 80, Gordon, Georgia, died Aug. 19, 2021. Following graduation, he served briefly in the Army. Dr. Dennard subsequently established Gordon Animal Clinic, where he practiced until shortly before his death. His five children, nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and two sisters survive him.


Dr. Heintz (Tuskegee ’73), 73, Gonzales, Louisiana, died June 20, 2021. He began his career as an associate veterinarian at Lakeview Veterinary Hospital in New Orleans, subsequently becoming a partner in the practice. In 2005, Dr. Heintz joined Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, also serving as preceptorship coordinator. He retired from the veterinary college in 2016. In recent years, Dr. Heintz worked part time as an associate veterinarian at Dutchtown Animal Hospital in Prairieville, Louisiana, where son Dr. Jonathan M. Heintz (Tuskegee ’08) practices.

Dr. James L. Heintz Sr. was a past president of the Tuskegee Veterinary Medical Alumni Association and served on its Executive Council. Dr. Heintz was a past recipient of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He is survived by his wife, Judy; two sons and two daughters; five grandchildren; and four siblings. Memorials may be made to Wish to Fish Louisiana, wishtofish.org.


Dr. Hudson (Cornell ’60), 90, Newcastle, Maine, died Sept. 8, 2021. Following graduation, he practiced mixed animal medicine in North Conway, New Hampshire. In 1963, Dr. Hudson established a practice in Bethel, Maine, working there until retirement in 1994. He helped establish the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter in Fryeburg, Maine, where he set up free spay/neuter services for animals in the shelter. Dr. Hudson was a past president of the Maine VMA. A veteran of the Army, he served as a second lieutenant in Germany. Dr. Hudson is survived by his wife, Pat; a daughter and a son; three grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Memorials may be made to the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter, 1389 Bridgton Road, Fryeburg, ME 04037.


Dr. Johnston (Texas A&M ’63), 82, Houston, died Aug. 30, 2021. Following graduation, he served two years in the Air Force, attaining the rank of captain. Dr. Johnston then moved to Houston, where he became a partner at Westbury Animal Hospital. He retired in 2011. Dr. Johnston was a past president of the Texas and Harris County VMAs, served on the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust, was a past area director and regional coordinator for the American Animal Hospital Association, and served on several committees at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, he received several honors, including the TVMA Companion Animal Practitioner of the Year Award in 1983, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas A&M University in 1983, the Distinguished Alumni Award from TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in 1991, and the AAHA Region IV Practitioner of the Year Award in 1996. His wife, Yvonne; three sons and a daughter; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and three sisters survive him.


Dr. Litt (Kansas State ’46), 99, Lake Worth, Florida, died Oct. 3, 2021. Following graduation, he began his career in small animal medicine in Chicago. Dr. Litt also served as rabies commissioner for Cook County for several years. In 1978, he moved to Boca Raton, Florida, where he established a practice, working there well into his 80s. Dr. Litt helped establish the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. His two daughters, a son, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren survive him.


Dr. Rice (Kansas State ’74), 71, Chandler, Arizona, died Oct. 13, 2021. During his career, he owned several practices in Arizona, including Tri-City Veterinary Hospital in Tempe, Tri-City East Veterinary Hospital in Mesa, Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital in Phoenix, Mile-Hi Animal Hospital in Prescott, and Animal Clinic at Mountain Park in Phoenix. Dr. Rice also served for a period as chief veterinarian at the Phoenix Zoo, was executive vice president of the zoo for three years, and chaired its Animal Health Committee. He was an adjunct clinical professor at Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of its Admissions Committee, and he was a visiting faculty member at South Mountain Community College and Mesa Community College. Most recently, Dr. Rice owned a veterinary consulting business and was director of veterinary science for the Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center, a high school in Phoenix.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Rice served on the joint AVMA/American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges Committee, the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee, and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation; was a past chair of the AVMA Political Action Committee; served as Arizona delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates; was a past president of the Arizona VMA; and served on the Arizona Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. He was also a past director of the Western Veterinary Conference and was a member of the Arizona Academy of Veterinary Practice and the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. An avid conservationist, Dr. Rice led teams of students from the Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center and veterinarians via the AZVMA Africa Safaris program to South Africa, tracking and tagging various species of wildlife.

In 1991, Dr. Rice was named Arizona VMA Veterinarian of the Year. In 2005, he was honored by Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine with an Alumni Recognition Award. He was elected to the Arizona VMA Veterinary Hall of Fame in 2011. Dr. Rice was a member of the Tri-City Rotary Club for more than 25 years and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He chaired the board of directors of the former Arizona Boys Ranch. He served on the steering committees of the Arizona Animal Welfare League and Gabriel’s Angels, the latter organization helping at-risk children through pet therapy. Dr. Rice also served on the board of directors of Friends of the Preserve, an elephant preserve in Fredericksburg, Texas. He established the Dr. Dean Rice Veterinary Scholarship at Kansas State University to help reduce educational debt.

Dr. Rice is survived by his wife, Kenda; two daughters; five grandchildren; and a sister and a brother. Memorials may be made to Friends of the Preserve, 650 Doublehorn Road, Fredericksburg, TX 78671, elephantpreserve.org/donate.