BluePearl launches wellness program
Across the profession, organizations are enhancing health and well-being efforts to support and sustain their workforces. On May 7, the Health + Well-being Team at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital launched its Wellness Ambassador Program.
Ambassadors of the program will be trained in the Mental Health First Aid course from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, a public education program that teaches individuals how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
The goals of the Wellness Ambassador Program are as follows:
Normalize discussion around mental health and substance abuse challenges in BluePearl workplace environments.
Reduce stigma related to lack of understanding of those who may be experiencing mental health or substance abuse challenges.
Enhance a person's ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance abuse issue.
Teach associates and leadership how to address and engage an individual who may be experiencing mental health or substance abuse challenges.
BluePearl, which has 7,000-plus employees at over 100 specialty and emergency veterinary hospitals in the U.S., introduced its Veterinary Social Work Program in 2018. Today, the Health + Well-being Team consists of seven regional veterinary social workers, a former emergency veterinarian and wellness trainer, and a veterinary technician who is a wellness trainer. BluePearl hopes to have 200 Mental Health First Aid–trained wellness ambassadors in its practices by the end of 2022.
AAFP's Cat Friendly Certificate Program receives award
The American Association of Feline Practitioners announced in May that the AAFP's Cat Friendly Certificate Program received a 2021 Gold Circle Award from the American Society of Association Executives in the category of New Product/Service Launch.
“The AAFP identified that some veterinary practices were not ready to become an AAFP Cat Friendly Practice, but individual veterinary team members had a strong desire to learn more cat friendly ways in which to practice,” said Dr. Kelly St. Denis, AAFP president, in the announcement. “The AAFP created the Cat Friendly Certificate Program in order to offer this education to veterinary professionals so they could enhance the experience and care provided during feline appointments.”
The Cat Friendly Certificate Program launched in October 2020 and offers a concise educational package focusing on the special needs of feline patients. The program consists of certificates titled Cat Friendly Veterinarian, Cat Friendly Veterinary Professional, and Cat Friendly Advocate. More than 1,600 people had earned certificates as of mid-May.
Information about the program is at catvets.com/certificate.
Morris Animal Foundation testing questionnaire on equine osteoarthritis
A newly funded study from Morris Animal Foundation is testing a questionnaire to help horse owners recognize and monitor signs of chronic osteoarthritis pain in their horses.
Dr. Janny de Grauw, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and Diane Howard, PhD, a graduate from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K., were awarded the Donor-Inspired Study Grant through a donor-sponsored program that allows individuals to directly support research.
Dr. Howard, under Dr. de Grauw's supervision, developed a 15-item questionnaire through interviews with owners who have horses with osteoarthritis, which causes chronic pain in horses if left untreated. The research team hopes the simple survey will help horse owners recognize pain better so they can contact a veterinarian for treatment.
The study was funded by Dr. Wendy Koch, who is an animal welfare advocate and has worked with the Morris Animal Foundation for 30 years. Dr. Koch plans to fund one $10,000 equine behavior and welfare study per year through the Donor-Inspired Study Program.
Thinking of a career transition? Assess yourself first
Career development workshops at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 and elsewhere aim to help job seekers find the right fit
By Malinda Larkin
The biggest impediment to veterinarians making a career change, Dr. Valerie Ragan says, isn't a lack of skills or a dearth of available opportunities. It's their mindset.
Job seekers will often tell her they feel that something's wrong with them for not being able to cope with practice life or for not being happy with their job. They may see others thriving and wonder why that's not the case for them. Her job is to help them get past that point. “I say, ‘No, you’re just in a bad career fit that doesn't really suit you.’”
Dr. Ragan is director for the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Over the years, the center has worked with more than 600 veterinarians on career transitions.
Dr. Ragan says veterinarians change jobs for myriad reasons. Some develop allergies or get injured on the job and can't go back to clinical practice. Others have to move to a new location for their partners, and the area doesn't have openings in any clinics. Whatever the reason, they often switch jobs without doing a self-assessment first.
“Why are you leaving? What is it you don't want to do anymore? A lot of people haven't taken the time to figure that out and then take a similar job and are back in the soup again,” Dr. Ragan said.
“The other problem is people who have changed jobs a lot, going from clinic to clinic to clinic, so they aren't being strategic at all. They keep applying for the same things but maybe a different clinic without stepping back and saying, ‘What is it that I need in my life and job?’ and ‘What am I interested in, and will this new place fit those things?’”
Survey and workshops
To better help the veterinarians it serves, Dr. Ragan and others at the CPCVM did a survey of program participants before the pandemic. A majority of respondents were female and employees rather than owners of a practice. They represented 44 states and every U.S. veterinary college that had graduated students in 2020 as well as a number of international institutions. About half had graduated 10 years ago or less, and the same proportion were in small animal practice.
The top two reasons cited for wanting a career change were burnout or not enough time for family. Others cited an interest in another field or wanting to be in a new area.
The top two challenges that participants mentioned in transitioning careers were not knowing how to translate their clinical skills into another career area and not knowing what other areas of nonclinical practice were available to them.
“A lot felt that veterinary college hadn't prepared them for something besides clinical practice and weren't aware of other resources to help them,” Dr. Ragan said.
To fill the gap, Dr. Ragan and others have been offering more workshops on career transitions for veterinarians wanting to make a change, usually from private practice. The focus is helping guide them through the process to find a good career fit. Dr. Ragan and her team hosted virtual sessions this past April and in August last year after previously conducting in-person sessions once every few years. In addition, the center is creating online modules based on the workshops that will be available later this summer.
Rebuilding a life and career
Dr. Anthony Madden was done with running between appointments all day. He had worked in small animal private practice for 27 years, including owning a practice for 20 years, when he was ready to make a change. Then his house burned down in the August Complex fires in the Coast Range of Northern California in 2020. His clinic remained untouched, but he figured it was a good time to sell his practice, which he did at the end of the year.
“I did it the way you’re not supposed to do it,” Dr. Madden said. “I didn't plan for a new career or position while I had my current job. I was too busy in practice and dealing with insurance people,” regarding his house.
Not wanting to retire, he had sent out some resumes and did interviews before signing up for the spring career transition workshop from the CPCVM.
The workshop helped Dr. Madden hone his elevator speech, create a functional resume in which he emphasized his skills more than his experience, and redo his cover letter to be more attractive to potential employers. He said, “I never would have thought of doing a resume that way or tooting my horn that loudly, but it certainly got more interest.”
After starting his job search in March, he took a job in May with Gallant, a veterinary biotechnology firm that banks pets’ stem cells. As director of clinical development, he helps set up clinics with clinical trials and works remotely the rest of the time. He's relocated to Spokane, Washington, until he and his wife rebuild their ranch.
Dr. Madden said he was vigilant about checking for new job listings on Indeed and LinkedIn every few days and using specific search terms.
“To make a resume, update my cover letter, check jobs, and be ready to talk to a recruiter all took mental energy and time that I certainly didn't have when practicing,” Dr. Madden said. He also says veterinarians used to looking for associate jobs may not be accustomed to the lengthy interview process for corporate positions, which sometimes involves four or five interviews.
“It's not going to be an overnight success. I got rejection letters. I wasn't used to that, but it happens,” he said, adding that it takes patience and perseverance to find a different career in veterinary medicine, although the opportunities are out there. If the job doesn't seem like the right fit, whether because of the people or the position, don't feel obligated to take it after the interview.
Dr. Madden said the CPCVM's career transition workshop proved motivational, too.
“Having so many speakers and others in the same situation helps motivate you to take more initiative,” he said.
A career path for everyone
Dr. Ragan says career transitions are an important part of conversations on wellness. She's gotten the sense that more people are starting to reflect on what's important after the pandemic.
“They want to start to address some things and understand that it doesn't have to be the way it is if they’re unhappy,” she said. “I’ve had several people from the last two workshops saying they were relieved knowing they’re not the only one and to have a process because they felt lost.”
Dr. Ragan will give two presentations at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021, one on July 30 titled “The First Step in a Career Change—A Deep Dive into the Development of Self-Assessment Skills” and another on July 31 titled “Veterinarians Interested in a Career Change—Who, Why, and Resources.”
Often people don't know where to start, and Dr. Ragan's answer to that is a self-assessment. People may superficially do one, but they need to do a more in-depth one and use it to translate what they learn about themselves to finding a new job.
Dr. Ragan says the key is teaching veterinarians how to examine personality traits and identify personal and career interests. Then they can use those traits and interests to search for jobs. For example, introverts may be well served by searching for terms such as “independent,” while extroverts should search for terms such as “teamwork” or “public interaction.” Veterinarians should think about things such as whether they want to travel for work or have a job that takes place outdoors, whether they have a particular species or area of interest, and what their preferred way of working is.
Finally, Dr. Ragan said, “It's taking your skills and learning to translate those in another environment. That part takes some thinking and development, but once you’ve got it nailed, you’ve got it.
“I’m convinced there is a job in veterinary medicine for everybody out there. It might not have the title of veterinarian. It may be public health administrator or researcher. There's a whole plethora of titles they can find if they look properly.”
Career-focused sessions at AVMA virtual Convention 2021
A number of presenters at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 will discuss how job seekers and others can better hone their skills to find a new career, take on new roles at their existing job, or think about what their next step should be.
On July 29, Dr. Douglas Aspros, chief veterinary officer for Veterinary Practice Partners, will talk about how effective leadership arises from a leader's behavior, not their personality, and how making good hires is a key element of building a sustaining practice culture and driving success. Drs. Maggie Canning and Emily M. Tincher will give the presentation “You’re Not Alone: The Early Career Slump,” discussing this common phenomenon and providing tangible ways to prevent or get out of the slump. And Louise Dunn, founder and CEO of Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting, will cover how to develop a successful program for new hires by using technology to make the process efficient, creating a training plan and setting up teachers from within the staff team, and involving the entire team with getting the relationship off to a good start.
On July 30, Dr. Valerie Ragan from the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine will give a virtual talk on developing self-assessment skills and how doing so is used as a first step to finding new careers. Christine Crick, director of specialty veterinary technicians in the medical operations department with VCA Inc., will present in the Veterinary Technology track on “The Midlevel Professional: Finding the Right Fit for Your Career.”
On July 31, Dr. Ragan will present again, this time on veterinarians interested in a career change. She will discuss the drivers for interest in a career change in veterinary medicine, results from a survey of CPCVM program participants, resource needs for a career change in veterinary medicine, and resources available.
Finally, on Aug. 1, licensed veterinary technician Aggie Kiefer will present in the Veterinary Technology track on “Understanding Your Personal Strengths to Build Your Career and Team: Parts 1 and 2.” The first lecture introduces attendees to the concept of a strength-based strategy, a scientific assessment to help individuals understand their strengths, while the second session will build on the information from the first part to learn how to further one's goals and improve team dynamics.
SESSIONS FOCUS ON IMPROVING WORKPLACES, LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS
AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 has made available hundreds of hours of continuing education, including plenty of programming related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Sessions kick off on July 29, when there will be a talk by Dr. Valerie Cristina Marcano, founder of Pawsibilities Vet Med, a nonprofit platform dedicated to recruitment and retention of diverse students in veterinary medicine. She will discuss options for improving recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in the veterinary profession as well as ways to improve leadership and professional development opportunities for those groups.
The next day, July 30, will include the following presentations:
“COVID-19 & the Impact of Equity Challenges on the Evolving Role of Shelter Medicine” by Drs. Mehnaz C. Aziz, senior director in the shelter medicine services department at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Dr. Tina V. Tran, founding board member of the Multicultural VMA.
“The DEI Intersection of Shelter Medicine, Community Medicine & Veterinary Social Work During COVID-19: A One Health Model” by Dr. Tran; Dr. Jennifer Bolser, chief clinic veterinarian for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Colorado; and Kelly Bremken, an intern in veterinary social work.
“Conquering Cultural Conundrums in Veterinary Practice” by Dr. Zenithson Y. Ng, clinical associate professor of small animal primary care at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
“When There is No One Else at Work That Looks Like You: Addressing the Lack of Diversity in Veterinary Medicine and How Everyone Can Play a Role” by Drs. Tangela Williams-Hill, Philadelphia professional services veterinarian for Idexx Laboratories, and Laura E. Pletz, scientific services manager for Royal Canin.
“Implementing Organizational Change and the Burning Platform of Workplace Discrimination in Veterinary Medicine” by Dr. Gerelyn Henry, president and CEO of YW August Companies and Transcendent Pathology.
The following day, July 31, will feature the presentation “Leveraging the Diversity Bonus in the Workplace” with Drs. Tran; Marie Sato Quicksall, president of the MCVMA; and Mia Cary, veterinary consultant, describing the diversity bonus as defined by social scientist Scott Page and comparing a variety of approaches to enhance workplace diversity.
Later that day, in the session “Discrimination in Veterinary Medicine: A Video Breakdown,” Dr. Quicksall will highlight a video that the MCVMA created this past July titled “A Profession in Crisis: Discrimination in Veterinary Medicine,” which shared stories collected from veterinary professionals about racism and bias they have experienced. Dr. Quicksall will lead a discussion on the issues brought up and provide suggestions for how to handle similar situations if they occur.
Then, Drs. Tran and Douglas Kratt, AVMA president, will follow up on their session from last year, “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Past, Present, and Future.” This year, they will speak on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Moving the Needle in Veterinary Medicine.”
Finally, Dr. Tran will present on “Inclusive Leadership in Organized Veterinary Medicine.” She will identify the challenges and opportunities related to creating and sustaining diverse leadership within organized veterinary medicine as well as best practices successfully being used by organizations both within and outside of veterinary medicine.
LEARN MORE ABOUT TELEMEDICINE AT AVMA CONVENTION
Many veterinarians started offering telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to continue helping patients while keeping clients and staff members safe.
It was a rapid transition, however, and practitioners may be wondering if they are complying with state and federal requirements and how to get the most benefit from offering telehealth services. Moreover, a handful of states are seeing efforts to broaden the regulatory requirements for establishing a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship to include virtual examinations.
Four states currently allow for establishing a VCPR virtually: Idaho (but not when prescribing), Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia. An attempt to broaden VCPR requirements failed in the Florida legislature this session, while Connecticut and Nevada lawmakers amended the veterinary state practice act to require an in-person examination prior to providing telehealth services. A federal VCPR, which requires an in-person examination, still applies to extralabel drug use and veterinary feed directives in all states.
Three continuing education sessions meant to shed additional light on veterinary telehealth will be offered on July 29 during AVMA Virtual Convention 2021.
Dr. Myron Kebus will present “Telehealth in Fish Medicine,” in which he will share the evolution of telehealth services in his practice and address the economics of delivering fish telehealth. The challenges and limitations will be presented along with the advantages and opportunities.
Dr. Kebus will also discuss the importance of having a previously established veterinary-client-patient relationship and give case examples to illustrate both the straightforward and more-challenging situations that aquaculture veterinarians may encounter.
In addition, AVMA's Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Gail Golab and Dr. Warren Hess, AVMA assistant director of animal and public health, will give the presentation “Telehealth and Connected Care: Keeping Better Connected With Your Patients and Clients.”
Participants will learn about key aspects of the “AVMA Guidelines for the Use of Telehealth in Veterinary Practice,” released earlier this year. The guide touches on potential service offerings within the telehealth space; what needs to be considered when choosing technology; legal considerations, including those around establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship; monetization strategies; and tips for staff and client engagement. Plus, participants will learn about the most recent advances in how connected care is being incorporated into the practice of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Gregory Bishop's presentation, “Veterinary Telemedicine: What's the Evidence?” will be offered later that day. Dr. Bishop will synthesize the current state of veterinary telemedicine, including an overview of the various service models, legal and ethical concerns, and a review of the emerging scientific literature.
His lecture will also present information on the economics of telemedicine, client perspectives, and some of the barriers to adoption. In addition, he’ll touch on specific applications for telemedicine, including dermatology, behavior, and triage.
CONVENTION SESSIONS CENTER ON WELL-BEING
Presentations on well-being, stress, and thriving in practice will be offered throughout AVMA Virtual Convention 2021, scheduled for July 29-Aug. 1.
On July 29, Julie L. Squires, a certified compassion fatigue specialist and life coach, will speak during “Silencing the Inner Bully.” The lecture will discuss negative self-talk and changing the inner dialogue to be more compassionate. The session will also review how thinking, feeling, and acting differently toward yourself can create better self-esteem and confidence.
“Thriving Not Just Surviving in Veterinary Medicine,” being held on the same day, will include information about burnout, compassion fatigue, and overall mental health concerns in veterinary medicine. Megan Brashear, a registered veterinary technician with 20 years of experience in emergency and critical care, will discuss the challenges and offer practical tips.
Later that day, Jen J. Butler, a leader in stress management and resilience training will speak on how to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and evaluate a crisis. The lecture will focus on the difference between stress management and crisis coping, how the body responds biologically to a crisis, and six steps to cope with a crisis.
On July 30, Dr. Caroline Jurney, director of Forum Moderators, will talk about how to achieve a culture of wellness within a practice. “Wellness Bootcamp: Actionable Steps to Take in Your Clinic to Improve Wellbeing,” will feature discussions on hospital culture and where clinics fail on wellness. Dr. Jurney will also showcase actionable steps to improve.
“Make Your Own Wellbeing Plan” with Kristina Guldbrand, a certified veterinary technician and an operations manager and certified leadership and well-being coach, will guide attendees through a coaching-style lecture on evaluating what is important in life, discussing the factors keeping people away from well-being, and then defining where you want to be. The session will focus on creating a personal well-being plan and the necessary tools to stay on track with it. This is a $30 ticketed event, and potential attendees can sign up while registering for the convention or by modifying their registration.
On Aug. 1, “Helping the Helpers: Techniques to Support Veterinary Professionals in Suicidal Distress,” will teach veterinary professionals how to recognize and respond to someone who may be having thoughts of suicide. The lecture, led by Dr. Addie R. Reinhard, founder and director of MentorVet, and Daniel Stillwell, PhD, a marriage and family therapist, will discuss warning signs for suicide, communication tactics and emotional processing tools to respond to those signs, and how to cope with the loss of someone who has died by suicide.
Other well-being events during convention include activities such as the Power Up Virtual 5K held between July 19 and Aug. 13 and Virtual Zoo Yoga at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1, streamed directly from the Minnesota Zoo.
Two cats injured in wildfire go home six months later
University of California veterinarians, veterinary students aided cats with third-degree burns on all paws
By Greg Cima
In September 2020, a pair of fluffy gray cats arrived at the University of California-Davis with severe burns on all of their paws.
Rescuers had found Ash and Lucky, a pair of 2-year-old littermates, along a road in Berry Creek, California, a town in the Sierra Nevada foothills that was almost completely destroyed weeks earlier by the North Complex Fire. Dr. Karen Vernau, clinical professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said the injured cats spent the time between the fire and their rescue on their own, and it's amazing they survived.
“Ash and his brother actually came in together with probably the worst burn injuries that we’ve seen since we’ve been dealing with kitties who have been in disaster situations,” Dr. Vernau said.
The UC-Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team evaluated, transported, or treated about 1,200 animals in response to fall 2020's wildfires. Ash and Lucky were among more than 60 animals brought to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for advanced care.
In late March, Ash was the last animal discharged from care. After Lucky returned to his owner, Ash found a new home.
The 2020 North Complex Fire was among the most deadly and destructive wildfires in state history. Fifteen people died from the blaze, which started Aug. 17 and burned 319,000 acres and destroyed 2,400 structures, according to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Los Angeles Times previously reported at least 12 of those who died had lived in Berry Creek.
TREATMENT EXTENDS ACROSS SPECIALTIES
Drs. Vernau and Elizabeth Montgomery, staff veterinarian with the veterinary school's Community Surgery Service, took on the care of Ash and Lucky, after their initial treatment in the emergency room, and provided ongoing care for other animals that were injured in the fire. The two faculty members arrived early each morning for bandage changes, wound care, and other care coordinated with anesthetists and soft tissue surgeons—including those who performed a skin graft in early March to help heal Ash's right hind paw.
A university announcement indicates veterinary technicians also readied medications and supplies by 7 a.m. daily for months to help Drs. Montgomery and Vernau care for the cats without interrupting their teaching and clinical duties. And internal medicine and dermatology faculty members treated Ash's bouts of diarrhea and ringworm.
Ash and Lucky had sustained third-degree burns to all of their feet, requiring amputation of most of their digits, as well as some singed whiskers. But they were systemically well, Dr. Vernau said.
Lucky, in particular, was always at the front of his cage meowing, purring, and showing he wanted his caretakers to pet him, said Dr. Montgomery. Both cats were eating, Dr. Vernau said, but Dr. Montgomery noted both cats walked as though they were wearing stiletto heels.
“We had hopes that we would be able to get back to a pain-free state,” Dr. Montgomery said.
Dr. Vernau said that considering the severity of the injuries, the veterinarians had discussed early on whether proceeding with treatment was humane and ethical. But, given the cats’ attitudes and healthy appetites, the veterinarians were optimistic.
Dr. Montgomery said both cats seemed to emerge from treatment as happy pets.
“For the last few years, Karen and I have taken care of some of the most critical cats, and it is a tremendous amount of work, coming in on the weekends, coming in every day in a row,” she said. “It's really rewarding to put in the time and effort and then be able to see these cats find amazing homes with dedicated owners and to see their recovery.”
Dr. Vernau also said the veterinarians were able to provide so much care because of community donations to the Veterinary Catastrophic Need Fund, which pays for medical treatments for animals injured in natural disasters, such as the wildfires, or accidents.
SLUGGISH TO RAMBUNCTIOUS
Megan Rivera, who will be a third-year veterinary student at UC-Davis this fall, took in Ash for at-home care starting Oct. 9, 2020, and brought him to the teaching hospital several mornings each week. She also coordinates the UC-Davis Orphan Kitten Project, a rescue group run by veterinary students.
Both cats spent time receiving foster care from UC-Davis veterinary students, Rivera said, but Lucky eventually returned to his owner. Ash had been a semiowned community cat, and he was surrendered to the project.
Ash had little mobility before his skin graft, she said, but he became more active quickly after the surgery. The cat was friendly throughout his time in foster care, but she said the pain and pain medication seemed to dull his interest in play.
“By the time he was adopted, post–skin graft, he just had a slight limp in that leg,” Rivera said. “But he was very happy, running, and starting to want to jump.”
Rivera wanted more clinical experience, especially with burn care, and caring for Ash gave her a chance to see his progress and watch him recover.
Ash Ward, PhD, who lives in Oakland, had wanted to adopt a friend for her female cat, Biscuit, and she found Ash's story moving. She adopted him this past April and renamed him Jam.
He was limping and a bit timid at first, but he since has become extremely rambunctious, she said.
“He loves to run up and down the stairs and wrestle with my other cat, who likes that maybe about 30% to 40% of the time,” she said. “But he's very affectionate, and he's almost like a little dog.”
Jam and Biscuit also sleep together and wait side by side for the automatic feeder.
Dr. Ward expects Jam may need long-term joint care because he essentially walks on his knuckles, but he otherwise seems healthy, she said.
“I think a lot about how difficult it probably was to save him,” she said, adding that she is grateful the veterinary school was able to do so and that Jam's care helped veterinary students learn.
Pfizer CEO and veterinarian albert bourla tells penn vet grads, ‘What we do matters’
Dr. Bourla talks about lessons learned from creating COVID vaccine
By R. Scott Nolen
The COVID-19 pandemic caused nearly 4 million deaths as of mid-June, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, but the virus's impact is being mitigated thanks to vaccines made available in record time. One of those vaccines is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, shown to be 98% effective after two doses.
Pfizer CEO and veterinarian Dr. Albert Bourla was the speaker for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's 136th annual commencement ceremony, held virtually May 17.
Dr. Andrew Hoffman, Penn Vet dean, noted in his introductory remarks that the core technology used in the development of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines was created by two UPenn scientists: Drew Weissman, MD, and Katalin Karikó, PhD.
“They found a way to chemically modify the RNA and enclose it within liquid nanoparticles,” Dr. Hoffman explained. “This technology enabled safe, functional delivery of messenger RNA encoding the coronavirus's spike proteins that led to robust immune response against the virus in animals.
“In early November 2020, we learned that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which used the Karikó and Weissman RNA technology, was safe and efficacious in humans.”
Shortly thereafter, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and, later, the Moderna vaccine.
In June, the Biden administration announced plans to buy half a billion doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to donate to the world.
CREATING A MIRACLE
Dr. Bourla said the development of the COVID-19 vaccine is a story of incredible scientific achievement as well as a story filled with broader lessons that apply to many aspects of life.
Lesson one: People often have no concept of what they’re capable of achieving. As Dr. Bourla explained, vaccine development normally takes 10 years. Given the urgency of the pandemic, the Pfizer team accelerated that timeline, initially developing plans that would have delivered study results in 15 months and allowed Pfizer to produce tens of millions of doses by the second half of 2021.
“These plans would smash all previous records, but they simply weren't good enough. We needed to deliver the vaccine even more quickly, and we needed to produce significantly more doses,” Dr. Bourla said.
“I asked the team to think about how many more people would get sick or die if we didn't deliver sooner,” he continued. “We couldn't focus on what the past told us we couldn't do, and we couldn't take no for an answer. Instead, we needed to figure out what science tells us we can do.
“In the end, the team came back with a plan that enabled us to deliver the vaccine in about nine months and that has us poised to deliver more than 2.5 billion doses in total by the end of 2021.
“That is what thinking big looks like.”
Lesson two: Luck never comes to the unprepared. Pfizer was working for years to position the company to quickly develop an mRNA vaccine.
It is a lesson Dr. Bourla learned as a veterinary student working with a team of researchers on lamb embryo transfer. After several failures, the procedure was a success.
“This experience taught me not to fear failure,” he said. “In science, failure comes with the territory. In vaccine research, for example, only one in 10 candidates in the clinic ever make it to the world. In science, failures don't set us back—they actually keep us moving forward.”
DR. BOURLA'S HISTORY
Dr. Bourla received his veterinary degree and a doctorate in the biotechnology of reproduction from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki School of Veterinary Medicine in Greece. He joined Pfizer in 1993 in its former Animal Health Division as technical director of Greece.
“I chose to attend veterinary school because I love animals and I was fascinated by the mysteries of life. I still do, and I still am,” Dr. Bourla said in his prerecorded address.
He held positions of increasing responsibility within the Animal Health Division across Europe, before moving to Pfizer's New York global headquarters in 2001. From there, Dr. Bourla went on to assume a succession of leadership roles within the division, including U.S. group marketing director from 2001-04, vice president of business development and new products marketing from 2004-06, and area president for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East from 2006-09. In 2009, he assumed additional responsibilities for the Asia and Pacific regions.
Dr. Bourla left the Animal Health Division and was named president and general manager of Pfizer's established products in 2010, leading the development and implementation of strategies and tactics related to Pfizer's off-patent portfolio. Then Pfizer announced in 2012 that it was spinning off its Animal Health Division. Zoetis became a completely independent company in February 2013.
From 2014-16, Dr. Bourla served as group president of Pfizer's global vaccines, oncology, and consumer health care. He was instrumental in building a strong and competitive position in oncology and expanding the company's leadership in vaccines, according to his company biography. He then served from February 2016 to December 2017 as group president of Pfizer Innovative Health, which comprised the business groups covering consumer health care, inflammation and immunology, internal medicine, oncology, rare diseases, and vaccines. In addition, he created the Patient and Health Impact Group, dedicated to developing solutions for increasing patient access to Pfizer's medicines, demonstrating the value of those medicines, and ensuring broader innovation in business models.
Prior to taking the reins as CEO in January 2019, Dr. Bourla served as the biopharmaceutical giant's chief operating officer beginning in January 2018, responsible for overseeing the company's commercial strategy, manufacturing, and global product development.
Dr. Bourla commended Penn Vet's Class of 2021 for earning veterinary degrees during a pandemic, describing the accomplishment as “nothing short of fantastic.”
“Your hard work and devotion have resulted in you now becoming part of what I consider to be one of the most elite, important, and maybe underappreciated fraternities and sororities in the world.”
Dr. Bourla told the class of graduates to remember “ours is a profession that has an enduring, positive social impact. What we do matters and makes our planet better. We make a difference, and that's something that cannot be said of all professions.”
He closed with a quote attributed to a fellow Greek and the namesake of his university, Aristotle: “Our problem is not that we aim too high, and we miss. Our problem is that we aim too low and hit.”
The article “Board sends polices to HOD, goes ahead with HOD-approved dues increase” in the May 15, 2021, issue of JAVMA News, page 1036, incorrectly reported that the AVMA Board of Directors forwarded the “Policy on Therapeutic Medications in Racehorses” to the AVMA House of Delegates during its April 2021 meeting. Instead, the Board approved the policy.
The article “Veterinarian named in settlement over human knee surgeries” in the June 15, 2021, issue of JAVMA News, page 1302, incorrectly reported that Dr. James Cook is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. As of February 2020, he was not a diplomate.
This spring, the University of Georgia's Center for Influenza Disease and Emergence Research became an institution in the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response, which replaced the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance. The article “UGA joins federal influenza research network” in the July 1, 2021, issue of JAVMA News, page 17, contained the name of the previous network.
“We couldn't focus on what the past told us we couldn't do, and we couldn't take no for an answer.”
Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO, on the development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
PET POISON HELPLINE OFFERS WELLNESS LESSONS
By Greg Cima
Dr. Renee Schmid said veterinary medicine is rewarding but taxing. The Pet Poison Helpline has started offering wellness lessons to give back to those professionals.
“Mental wellness and personal health is of utmost importance to a veterinary professional, no matter what role they’re in,” Dr. Schmid said. “They spend so much time looking after someone's loved animal and family member that it's easy to forget to take care of themselves.”
Dr. Schmid, who is veterinary supervisor and senior veterinary toxicologist for the helpline, said many of the free online lessons offered by the Pet Poison Helpline are useful for anyone in a clinic, whether a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or member of the front office staff.
The PPH started offering free toxicology webinars in April 2012, and the organization continues publishing new lessons at a pace of about one per quarter. In a partnership with AVMA Life, Pet Poison Helpline officials agreed to expand into wellness and enrichment programming starting in December 2016.
As of this spring, help line officials had provided 65 webinars: 50 on toxicology and 15 on wellness topics. The service is offering another three toxicology and two wellness webinars this summer and fall.
Many of the speakers in the wellness series are veterinarians, or they specialize in helping veterinarians, Dr. Schmid said. For example, Elizabeth B. Strand, PhD, director of the Veterinary Social Work program at the University of Tennessee, provided the first wellness sessions in December 2016 and January 2017. Those were a two-part series on mental health among veterinary professionals and ways to improve their well-being.
In introducing the first wellness video, Dr. Ahna Brutlag, director of veterinary services for Pet Poison Helpline, said leaders at the help line saw, as many others have, growing evidence that veterinary medicine had an overrepresentation of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Adryanna Siqueira Drake, PhD, clinical assistant professor and counselor at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and McArthur Hafen Jr., PhD, clinical associate professor and director of counseling services at the veterinary college, partnered to deliver lessons this past May about understanding the grief process and interacting with grieving clients. They are scheduled to give lessons Aug. 19 on relationship first aid for veterinary professionals.
Dr. Drake said she appreciates the way the Pet Poison Helpline has integrated wellness into its clinical skills lessons. She said wellness shouldn't be treated as separate from clinical medicine, and training can help veterinarians deal with highly emotional situations and uncertainty.
“Just like any other skill that you have in veterinary medicine, why not receive some information and feel a little bit more comfortable with your approach?” Dr. Drake said.
She hopes veterinarians will dig for more information on subjects such as grief or relationship quality, rather than feel they are expected to know what to do.
The webinars are available at petpoisonhelpline.com/veterinarians/webinars.
EFFORTS TO MICROCHIP EQUIDS GAINING TRACTION
By Kaitlyn Mattson
To identify horses in the past, owners typically had them branded or tattooed, although that wasn't common. But most horses and donkeys have not been permanently identified in a widespread way. A few years ago, that changed.
Cliff Williamson, director of health and regulatory affairs at the American Horse Council, recalls a symposium in 2017 that focused on implanting microchips in equids.
“We collectively discussed what a national effort would look like, and by the end of that meeting, we agreed that we would not be successful if we mandated it,” Williamson said. “It needed to be a bottom-to-top approach. We would have to figure out a way for this to be a win-win for horse owners, trainers, health officials, and organizations. That was tough. Trying to figure out a way for everyone to find this valuable—it was not intuitive. We noodled on it. At the end, we decided there were a lot of little things that many people could do to try to highlight the value of having a permanently identified horse.”
For example, showcasing anecdotal experiences of owners who reported being able to recover their animals after natural disasters and pointing out the advantages of permanent identification for event organizers managing drug and health check requirements in horses.
Many equine organizations now require a horse to be microchipped before competing in events.
It is difficult to identify how many horses have been chipped since 2017, but there has been a nationwide increase in the number, Williamson said, and he expects that to continue as owners see the value of permanent identification.
The Equine Welfare Data Collective, a collaboration to gather and analyze data on equids in rescues, has some numbers. Nationally, about 74% of survey respondents who were a part of nonprofits and municipal organizations that take custody of at-risk equids said they don't microchip equids in custody, and about 26% said they do, according to a report published in 2020.
“Our hope is this being a cultural norm,” Williamson said. “It is easier than taking pictures of horses, easier than lip tattoos, branding. Microchipping is easy. It is the future.”
Some microchip products are also making veterinary medicine easier, such as TempScan microchips, which can monitor temperatures when scanned, or the app EquiTrace, which can record temperature readings connected to a microchip number.
Dr. Alan Dorton, an equine practitioner in Kentucky, has implanted many biothermal microchips, and he uses EquiTrace. The temperature tracking capabilities allow him to record temperature changes to monitor animals, he said.
“I am diagnosing problems in foals before they’re sick, before they’re showing outward signs of illness,” Dr. Dorton said. “The benefits of these are exciting.”
The use of biothermal microchips is also helpful with biosecurity because one person is able to use the scanner to take a temperature—a quicker and easier process than getting a rectal temperature, said Dr. Dorton, who was monitoring temperatures in young foals recently as a new rotavirus strain was found in Kentucky.
Dr. Marta LaColla, who works for Merck Animal Health in the companion animal identification business, said the adoption of microchips as a method of identification is continuously growing in equids, especially in sport horses.
Dr. LaColla said veterinarians should be aware that microchips don't work like GPS, but EquiTrace, which Merck has a partnership with, does have an option to record a location when a horse is scanned. The lifespan of a microchip and the temperature-sensing feature can be decades. Dr. LaColla noted that the biothermal microchips are useful in monitoring multiple temperatures and identifying trends. According to some studies, she added, microchip migration isn't likely.
The U.S. could look to the U.K. as an example of equine microchipping becoming the norm. As of Oct. 1, 2020, it is now mandatory for all U.K. equid owners to microchip their animals so their details can be added to the Central Equine Database. The database will enable local authorities to trace owners of abandoned or stolen equids, while also helping to improve animal welfare standards.
Dr. Liz Barrett, a board-certified equine surgeon who is a sports medicine veterinarian, said placing a chip is a very simple procedure.
“About as invasive as vaccinations,” Dr. Barrett said. “It is standard to implant it in the middle of the nuchal ligament on the left side halfway down the crest.”
DENVER ZOO OPENS NEW ANIMAL HOSPITAL TO VISITORS
The Denver Zoo opened the new Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital to zoo visitors in June. The hospital, which began operations last fall, was funded by the Elevate Denver Bond Program passed by Denver voters in 2017 and various donors, including the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation and the Schlessman Family Foundation. The 22,000-square-foot facility will give guests an opportunity to watch veterinary team members in action as they care for the more than 3,000 animals at the zoo. The hospital features the Schlessman Family Foundation Visitor and Education Center, two treatment rooms, a diagnostic laboratory, a surgery suite, and a CT scanner.
OIE DATA SUGGEST DECLINE IN ON-FARM ANTIMICROBIAL USE
Data from 69 countries show a substantial two-year decline in the volumes of antimicrobials administered to farm animals.
A report published this spring by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) indicates the volumes of antimicrobials administered to food-producing animals, measured in milligrams per kilogram of body weight, declined one-third from 2015 to 2017. An announcement from the organization states that the change suggests “a positive trend over time in more prudent and responsible use of antimicrobials in the animal health sector.”
The announcement also notes that the OIE has seen an overall rise in the number of governments participating in the international report and a rising number of governments providing quantitative data on drug administration, as measured through drug sales. The announcement and report, the fifth OIE Annual Report on Antimicrobial Agents Intended for Use in Animals, provide only regional averages and ranges of use within those regions rather than data that could show which countries had decreases or increases in antimicrobial administration.
But the regional data do provide some information useful in showing how some countries skew the regional and global averages.
For all 102 countries that submitted quantitative data for 2017, the antimicrobial administration volume was about 108 mg/kg. For the 100 countries with validated data, the region of Asia, the Far East, and Oceania had the highest administration volume, at 192 mg/kg, or more than 2.5 times that of the next-highest region, the Americas, at 72 mg/kg. The median administration volume for countries in Asia, the Far East, and Oceania was 75 mg/kg, however, and the standard deviation was 168 mg/kg.
The report also indicates farms in only a minority of countries administer antimicrobials for growth promotion.
Among all 160 respondents to the survey, 112 indicated that farms in their country administer antimicrobials only for disease-related purposes, rather than production purposes, such as increasing growth rates. Another 20 allow some antimicrobial administration for growth promotion, 22 allow use without restrictions, and six country representatives said they were unsure whether antimicrobials were used in their countries to promote animal growth.
The OIE report is available at jav.ma/OIEreport.
THE RISKY BUSINESS OF GLOBAL ANIMAL MOVEMENT
Mitigating disease threats may require greater collaboration by governments, organizations
By R. Scott Nolen
However SARS-CoV-2 first emerged, that the virus is part of a family of coronaviruses common among several species of bats is beyond doubt.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest reminder that human interactions with the animal world are fraught with danger. It also revealed just how quickly a novel zoonosis can traverse the world, leaving illness, death, and disruption in its wake.
Now, likely sources of another pandemic are being scrutinized like never before. One such source, the global movement of animals, involves the international market for live animals and animal products as well as wildlife migration.
More than six of every 10 known infectious diseases in people are spread by animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, three of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.
The zoonotic threat and related concerns of global animal movement are the focus of the AVMA Global Health Summit, scheduled for July 31 during AVMA Virtual Convention 2021.
Additional topics the summit will cover include the potential impacts of global movement on animal health and welfare; the regulatory framework governing the global movement of livestock, pets, and wildlife; and what U.S. veterinarians can do to help.
One of the summit speakers, Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Gerlach, said the current outbreak of African swine fever in China illustrates the biosecurity risks associated with animal movement.
African swine fever is a lethal and economically important disease for which no approved vaccine exists. Part of what makes ASF so frightening is the virus is stable, is resilient, and can remain in the environment for a long time.
As Dr. Gerlach explained, “A big concern among U.S. pork producers involves African swine fever and the global movement of dogs. You think, ‘Why is that?’ Then you realize there are a lot of dog rescue groups that are moving animals from China and from Asia into the United States.
“And you think, ‘Dogs don't get African swine fever.’ They may not, but the fomites that travel with them—the cargo containers, the feed, or the bedding those dogs were on—they could have originated in areas where the virus is active.”
The trade in wildlife and wildlife products is easily the most controversial aspect of the global movement of animals. The U.S. State Department estimates the value of the international wildlife market at roughly $10 billion a year.
Legal international wildlife trade is regulated by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Yet the business of buying and selling wild animals and wildlife products is associated with illegal poaching and trafficking of elephant ivory, rhinoceros horns, and other widely banned animal products.
Wildlife trafficking also heightens the zoonotic disease threat. A 2008 study in the journal Nature estimated 60% of all emerging infectious disease events are zoonoses, a majority of which (71.8%) originated in wildlife.
Dr. Steve Osofsky, professor of wildlife health and health policy at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Cornell Wildlife Health Center, said, “The conservation community, myself included, has been seeking a silver lining in this horrible mess caused by the COVID pandemic, and that, in part, is highlighting the risks of inappropriate interactions with wildlife.”
Dr. Osofsky makes clear he is not referring to impoverished regions of the world where people must hunt wild animals to live. “Whether it's Paris, New York City, or Wuhan (China), do we need to have wildlife for sale in markets that people are consuming if they don't need that animal protein or micronutrients for their day-to-day survival? That's a real risk to humanity that quite likely isn't worth it. That's one of the lessons of COVID to me,” he said.
Dr. Osofsky would like to see an international treaty akin to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty that mitigates human activities that create opportunities for animal viruses to infect humans.
“We don't have anything like that. It's nobody's job,” he said. “The World Health Organization, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) all have a piece. But there is nothing whereby the global community has come together and made some decisions on what types of behaviors create risks for all of us that aren't worth it.”
SPIRIT OF ONE HEALTH
Governments and organizations such as the FAO and OIE have historically focused on managing economically costly livestock diseases.
That began to change following a string of public health crises, starting in the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st century. Seemingly every few years, an exotic zoonotic disease outbreak was occurring somewhere in the world, from bovine spongiform encephalopathy to HIV to avian influenza.
During the 88th OIE General Session this past May, the organization highlighted a lack of attention to wildlife health management as one of three critical weaknesses in countries’ abilities to fend off emerging disease threats. The other weaknesses are a lack of global capacity to manage disease emergencies and weaknesses in the sustainability of diagnostic laboratory systems.
An OIE survey of its 182 member nations on the role of veterinary services in wildlife management found only 15% of respondents collaborated with conservation organizations, charities, other nongovernmental organizations, and government departments focused on wildlife. The findings revealed a lack of coordination between veterinary services and wildlife authorities.
The OIE responded with the Wildlife Health Framework, a document designed to help members manage the risk of pathogen emergence in wildlife and transmission at the human-animal-ecosystem interface, while taking into account the protection of wildlife and biodiversity.
The OIE has always had a strong interest in wildlife health, said Dr. Matthew Stone, deputy director-general of international standards and science for the OIE. But it was the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that caused “significant reflection” within the organization about how well it was doing in terms of the spirit of one health.
“We realized some of the risk pathways for emerging disease, in particular from wildlife, were falling through the gaps between public health and animal health agencies, and we weren't sufficiently well connected up in many countries to have a very strong one-health framework for working through some of these emerging disease issues,’ said Dr. Stone, who is also speaking at the AVMA Global Health Summit.
That resulted in the OIE survey, which revealed that the various national agencies focused on animal health and wildlife health lack strong relationships. “They’ve carved out their own domains, and the statutory competencies that they’re given at a national level are highly varied,” Dr. Stone explained. “But too often, they are living in parallel universes and not communicating with each other.”
The OIE Wildlife Health Framework is intended to break down the institutional walls separating these animal health agencies and, in the spirit of one health, get them working together, Dr. Stone explained.
AVMA GLOBAL HEALTH SUMMIT SCHEDULE
The AVMA Global Health Summit at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 is slated for July 31, starting at 1 p.m. CST with Dr. Matthew Stone, deputy director general for international standards and science for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Dr. Stone is giving the talk “Impact of Global Animal Movement on Animal Health and Welfare and Public Health.”
At 2 p.m., “U.S. Regulations Pertaining to Global Movement of Animals” will be presented by Drs. Shanna Siegel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Veterinary Services, Emily Pieracci of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Mark Lutschaunig of the AVMA Government Relations Division.
At 3 p.m., “International Perspectives on Global Animal Movement: Canada, Mexico, and Europe” will be covered by Drs. Louis Kwantes, president-elect of the Canadian VMA; Gerardo Suzán with the National Autonomous University of Mexico School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry, and Nancy De Briyne, executive director of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe.
“Role of Veterinary Practitioners in Mitigating Negative Consequences of Global Animal Movement: Case Studies” is at 4 p.m., with presentations by Drs. Robert Gerlach, Alaska state veterinarian; Emily Pieracci of the CDC; and Beth Thompson, Minnesota state veterinarian.
CDC HONORS VETERINARIAN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH DEFENSE
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention honored a veterinarian for work to prevent disease outbreaks and respond when they occurred.
Dr. Jesse Bonwitt, veterinary epidemiologist in the Poxvirus and Rabies Branch of the CDC Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathobiology, received the 2021 James H. Steele Veterinary Public Health Award. An announcement from the CDC states that Dr. Bonwitt was honored for outstanding domestic and international contributions to veterinary public health and one health.
That work includes disease prevention, control, and responses involving zoonoses such as rabies, psittacosis, and Seoul virus. Dr. Bonwitt also contributed to the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases and showed versatility in applying research methods to prevent and control zoonotic pathogens, the announcement states.
The annual award also continues to honor Dr. Steele, who was the first chief of the CDC Veterinary Public Health Division, first veterinarian in the U.S. Public Health Service, and a leader who helped develop the discipline of veterinary public health.
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY SURGEONS
The American College of Veterinary Surgeons recently welcomed 26 new diplomates following board certification in April 2021. These diplomates are in addition to the individuals certified in February 2021 (see JAVMA, May 15, 2021, page 1051). The new diplomates are as follows:
Marcus Lee Bradbury, Savannah, Georgia
Alice May Bugman, Redwood City, California
Brittney Anne Carson, Columbus, Ohio
Sarah Lou-Rae Castaldo, Starkville, Mississippi
Chi-Ya Chen, Honolulu
Brianna Dalbeth, Bolton, Massachusetts
Samson S. Daniel, Chesapeake, Virginia
Cheslymar Garcia, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Sukhjit Singh Gill, Newmarket, Ontario
Christopher Reid Matthew Hagen, Oakbank, Manitoba
Kelsey Patricia Human, St. Petersburg, Florida
Alexandra Blake Kalamaras, Minneapolis
Michael Kevin Larkin, Plainview, New York
Sylvia Jung Wha Lee, Tampa, Florida
Ken John Linde, Kirkland, Washington
Michael Joseph Orencole, Murphy, Texas
Sarah Ann Salyer, Columbus, Ohio
Jessica Lynn Sullivan, Chandler, Arizona
Emily Huse Ulfelder, Quincy, Massachusetts
Fabienne S. Bach, Hinterbrühl, Austria
Roee Dahan, Rishon LeZion, Israel
Massimo Marco Delli-Rocili Sr., Guelph, Ontario
Alyssa K. Doering, College Station, Texas
Dimitri Kadic, Linkhout, Belgium
Jaclyn Marie Kaufman, Headingley, Manitoba
Ramés Salcedo Jiménez, Texcoco, Mexico
OHIO STATE ALUMNI HONORED
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine recognized several Distinguished Alumni at a virtual ceremony on May 7.
HONORARY DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI
Dr. Dennis J. Chew (Michigan State ’72) became an instructor in small animal internal medicine in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State's veterinary college in 1975 and was promoted to assistant professor in 1977, associate professor with tenure in 1982, and professor in 1989.
Dr. Stephen DiBartola (California-Davis ’76) joined the faculty at Ohio State's veterinary college as an assistant professor in 1981. He went on to become a professor of small animal internal medicine and associate dean of academic affairs.
Dr. Catherine Kohn (Pennsylvania ’73) accepted a position at Ohio State's veterinary college in 1976 as an instructor in equine medicine and surgery. She progressed to assistant professor in 1978, associate professor with tenure in 1986, and professor in 1997.
Dr. Linda Kay Lord (Ohio State ’99) was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Lord held numerous positions at Ohio State's veterinary college, including associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and associate dean for professional programs. She also created the Office of Career Management at the veterinary college.
Dr. Andrew Maccabe (Ohio State ’85) started his career as a mixed animal practitioner in northern Ohio and is currently CEO of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges.
Dr. Joseph S. McCracken (Ohio State ’79) is a longtime advocate of the one-health concept who for several years managed the research and development of pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies for Genentech and Roche Pharma.
Dr. Robert Eric Miller (Ohio State ’79) is recognized as an expert in zoological, wildlife, and conservation medicine. He has spent his life as a zoo veterinarian, zoo manager, and zoo-based conservationist working both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Paul C. Stromberg (Ohio State ’78) is an internationally recognized scholar in parasitic and bacterial diseases and tumorigenesis of various neoplasms with special emphasis on large granular lymphocytic leukemia of Fischer rats.
AVMA member | AVMA honor roll member | Nonmember
ROBERT L. CONRAD
Dr. Conrad (Auburn ’55), 95, Milltown, Indiana, died Jan. 15, 2021. He practiced in Warsaw, Indiana, for 35 years. Dr. Conrad was an Army veteran of World War II and a member of the American Legion. His wife, Bea; two sons; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren survive him.
HARRY B. FARRIS
Dr. Farris (Michigan State ’52), 94, Tucson, Arizona, died Jan. 23, 2021. During his more than 30-year career, he founded Euclid Veterinary Hospital and Pine Veterinary Clinic in the Bay City area of Michigan. Dr. Farris was a past president of the Rotary Club of Bay City and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He served in the Navy during World War II. Dr. Farris is survived by his wife, Dee Morelli; four sons; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Rotary Foundation, 14280 Collections Center Drive, Chicago, IL 60693, rotary.org/en/donate, or Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church, 501 S. Catherine St., Bay City, MI 48706, messiahlutheranbc.com.
DAVID G. JOLLY
Dr. Jolly (Texas A&M ’68), 85, Hot Springs, Arkansas, died March 15, 2021. Following graduation, he practiced small animal medicine for two years in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Jolly subsequently developed an interest in large animal and equine medicine and went on to acquire Step Ahead Farm and Training Center in Hot Springs, focusing on Thoroughbreds. Dr. Jolly spent the last 25 years working primarily on catastrophic wound care using regenerative medicine and special bandaging techniques. He also consulted worldwide and visited Mongolia and Russia to observe race track and racehorse dynamics in other countries.
Dr. Jolly was a member of the Arkansas VMA and the Oaklawn Jockey Club. He is survived by his wife, Jane, and three sisters. Memorials may be made to the Oaklawn Chapel, P.O. Box 20564, Hot Springs, AR 71903.
ROLAND D. MONTGOMERY
Dr. Montgomery (Michigan State ’52), 93, Lisbon, North Dakota, died Nov. 13, 2020. Following graduation, he established a mixed animal practice in Lisbon, where he worked until retirement. Dr. Montgomery served on the North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. He also served on the Lisbon School Board and was active with the Masonic Lodge and Boy Scouts of America. A Navy veteran of World War II, Dr. Montgomery was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. His two sons, a daughter, four grandchildren, his great-grandchildren, a brother, and two sisters survive him.
ANSON J. ODEN JR.
Dr. Oden (Texas A&M ’69), 80, Normangee, Texas, died Jan. 15, 2021. He owned Cross Country Genetics in Normangee prior to retirement. During his career, Dr. Oden also taught at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine; worked in Oklahoma; and was employed by the Granada Land and Cattle Co. in Houston.
Known for his expertise in genetics and embryo transfers in cattle, he was a past president of the American Embryo Transfer Association. Dr. Oden's wife, Marcia; a son and a daughter; three grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him.
ROBERT E. RAYNOR
Dr. Raynor (Colorado State ’60), 85, Tucson, Arizona, died Dec. 1, 2020. He was an equine veterinarian. Dr. Raynor is survived by his family.
LARRY W. WALDRIP
Dr. Waldrip (Texas A&M ’62), 85, New Braunfels, Texas, died Nov. 7, 2020. Following graduation, he practiced mixed animal medicine in Texas at Schertz and New Braunfels. Dr. Waldrip subsequently established a clinic in Universal City, Texas. In 1966, he founded Creek View Veterinary Clinic in New Braunfels. Dr. Waldrip went on to establish Loop 337 Veterinary Clinic in New Braunfels, where he worked until retirement.
From the 1960s to 1980s, he served as a volunteer veterinarian at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Dr. Waldrip also supported the Comal County Junior Livestock Show Association and Texas Junior Livestock Association and lent his services to the Natural Bridge Caverns Wildlife Ranch.
He was a veteran of the Air Force. Dr. Waldrip is survived by three sons, two stepsons, a stepdaughter, and 10 grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church Day School, 572 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels, TX 78130.