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Hill's donates to AVMF for Tuskegee scholarships, Louisiana disaster relief

Hill's Pet Nutrition recently made a $30,000 donation to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to support a scholarship program at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. Hill's made an additional gift of $10,000 to the AVMF to support disaster relief efforts in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida.

The donation for the Tuskegee scholarship follows a $45,000 endowment from Hill's in 2020 to the AVMF to be directed to Tuskegee to create the scholarship program. Tuskegee, a historically Black university, has educated 70% of Black veterinarians in the United States since its founding. The AVMF is matching Hill's new $30,000 gift for a total of $60,000 in new donations.

The Hill's donation for disaster relief in Louisiana will support the Louisiana State Animal Response Team. LSART is a division of the Dr. Walter J. Ernst Veterinary Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit associated with the Louisiana VMA.

The AVMF is matching the $10,000 donation to provide total support to LSART in the amount of $20,000. The funds will be directed to support disaster response and relief efforts in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida and for future disasters.

Researchers developing genetic test for dangerous drug reactions

A research group at Washington State University hopes a new genetic test could identify dogs with an elevated risk of dangerous reactions to anesthetics and other drugs.

The researchers were recruiting dogs this summer for further study toward developing the genetic test, which could help veterinarians adjust drug dosages or select alternatives. An Aug. 5 announcement from WSU indicates some dogs, especially Greyhounds and other sight hounds, metabolize certain drugs slowly in comparison with other breeds, increasing the risk of death from routine procedures requiring anesthesia.

Dr. Michael Court and members of the Court Lab in the Program for Individualized Medicine at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine have identified several mutations in genes that encode for enzymes needed for metabolism of common anesthetic drugs and some other pharmaceuticals administered to dogs, the announcement states.

Using a low-dose cocktail of other drugs metabolized in a similar manner, members of the laboratory previously conducted a study involving blood, saliva, and urine samples collected from Greyhounds and Golden Retrievers.

“The researchers demonstrated that their test could differentiate between the two types of metabolizers and found blood and urine were the most effective samples for the test,” the announcement states.

$5.8B in student loans to be discharged for borrowers with disabilities

More than 323,000 borrowers who can no longer work because of a disability will receive over $5.8 billion in automatic discharges of student loans under a new regulation announced Aug. 19 by the U.S. Department of Education. The change applies to borrowers who are identified through an existing data match with the Social Security Administration.

The USDE also will indefinitely extend a policy announced in March to stop asking these borrowers to provide information on their earnings—a process that results in the reinstatement of loans if borrowers do not respond—beyond the end of the national emergency declared because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The department will pursue eliminating the three-year income monitoring period during a rule-making period that begins in October.

The new regulation announced Aug. 19 allows the USDE to provide automatic discharges for borrowers with total and permanent disabilities who are identified through administrative data matching by removing the requirement for these borrowers to fill out an application before receiving relief. The department removed this application barrier in 2019 for disabled borrowers identified as eligible for a discharge through a data match with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Maggie O’Haire, associate professor of human-animal interaction at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, is leading research into how service dogs can benefit veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. (Photos courtesy of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

New law provides for service dogs for veterans with PTSD

Veterinary research established evidence of service dogs’ effectiveness for this use

By Malinda Larkin

Researchers have been studying in recent years whether trained service dogs can help war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some results indicate that these working dogs can help lessen symptoms. Others have found that service dogs at least did not worsen or interfere with PTSD recovery in their owners. This growing body of evidence, along with ongoing advocacy efforts, has helped pave the way for recently passed legislation that creates a pilot program in which veterans struggling with PTSD will train and later keep service dogs.

President Joe Biden on Aug. 25 signed into law the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act (HR 1448/S 613) that requires the secretary of veterans affairs to establish a five-year program to provide service dogs to veterans with PTSD. The AVMA supported the legislation.

“We know service dogs are a proven life-changing and life-saving form of therapy for our veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress,” said U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey in a statement.

“With this new law, we are addressing the high-cost barrier that prevents many from accessing these incredible dogs,” added Sherrill, a Navy veteran.

Investigating the human-animal bond

PTSD is a leading cause of impaired quality of life and functioning among veterans. From 11-20% of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have PTSD in a given year, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Currently, the VA covers the veterinary costs of service dogs that support veterans with physical disabilities, including blindness and mobility issues. The dog and veteran have to successfully complete a training program offered by an organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation. The VA has not previously provided service dogs for veterans with PTSD, saying research supporting their effectiveness was limited.

Critiques of past research on potential benefits of service dogs for veterans with PTSD found that prior studies failed to describe the type or amount of service dog training, duration of pairing, or effectiveness of the human-dog bond; had limited PTSD outcome measures; and lacked control groups as well as randomization or other controls for bias.

Results were released in 2018 from a first-of-its-kind pilot study investigating the efficacy of service dogs as a complementary, therapeutic intervention for veterans with PTSD. Funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute and conducted by Maggie O’Haire, PhD, assistant professor of human-animal interaction at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, and her team, the study found that veterans with a service dog exhibited significantly lower overall PTSD symptom severity, including increased overall psychological well-being; a better ability to cope with flashbacks and anxiety attacks; a lower frequency of nightmares and less overall sleep disturbance; lower overall anxiety, depression, and anger; higher levels of companionship and social reintegration; and lower levels of social isolation. Participants in this study were recruited from a database of individuals provided by K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides veterans with service dogs.

Dr. O’Haire and her team are currently conducting a National Institutes of Health–funded clinical trial to collect more extensive evidence.

Veterans Affairs study

Before Dr. O’Haire's study, Congress had directed the secretary of veterans affairs in 2010 to begin a three-year study to assess “the benefits, feasibility, and advisability of using service dogs for the treatment or rehabilitation of veterans with physical or mental injuries or disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder.” During the first phase of the study, however, investigators ran into issues, including service dog groups using rescue dogs with uncertain behavioral and health histories or those that were poorly trained. Some of these groups also discouraged participants from reporting problems to the VA and inflated expectations, thus biasing study outcomes.

That's according to “A Randomized Trial of Differential Effectiveness of Service Dog Pairing Versus Emotional Support Dog Pairing to Improve Quality of Life for Veterans with PTSD,” released in January 2020 by the Veterans Health Administration's Office of Research and Development. The report details the results of the second phase of the study, taking place from December 2017 to June 2019 and led by Dr. Joan T. Richerson, assistant chief veterinary medical officer in the Office of Research and Development, and a team of fellow VA researchers.

The study, available at jav.ma/VAstudy, occurred at three VA medical centers—Atlanta VA Medical Center; Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Iowa City, Iowa; and VA Portland Health Care System in Portland, Oregon—among 227 veteran participants, of whom 181 were paired with a study dog. Ninety-seven got a service dog, and 84 got an emotional support dog.

The primary aim was to determine whether overall disability and quality of life of participants with PTSD was improved by service dogs relative to emotional support dogs. The special tasks that the service dogs were trained to perform were expected to benefit participants with PTSD and thereby provide more improvement than the emotional support dogs, which provided comfort and companionship only.

The secondary aim was to compare the impact of service dogs versus emotional support dogs on mental health outcomes. Participants who received trained service dogs were expected to have reduced PTSD symptoms; decreased suicidality, depression, and anger; as well as improved sleep outcomes in comparison with participants who received emotional support dogs.

According to the VA study, both groups appeared to have experienced some benefit to their mental health, including a decrease in symptoms such as anger and disrupted sleep, but the service dogs were able to decrease the severity of symptoms better than emotional support dogs.

“Participants paired with a service dog experienced a reduction in the severity of PTSD symptoms (PCL-5) compared to participants paired with an emotional support dog, and had fewer suicidal behaviors and ideations, particularly at 18 months postpairing,” according to the study.

The study results were reviewed by a committee that had been appointed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at the request of the VA.

The committee noted that the authors clarified “that the study does not provide evidence that service dog placement improves overall disability or quality of life among Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

The committee added that the methods and analysis of this study could be instrumental in informing the design of future research on this topic.

A second paper reporting on health economics and cost effectiveness was expected to be released to the public in September. At press time, the paper was under National Academies review.

New program

In the meantime, the VA will partner with nonprofit organizations for the newly authorized pilot program, which provides for veterans diagnosed with PTSD to assist in training a service dog. At the end, the veteran may adopt the dog.

The VA will document and track the progress of participating veterans regarding health benefits and improvements. The bill also authorizes the VA to provide service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses, regardless of whether they have a mobility impairment.

“We commend the White House for supporting this bill as a critical step in combatting veteran suicide, and we’re confident in the path ahead for service dogs ultimately becoming a covered VA benefit to veterans with PTSD,” said Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors, in a press release from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute.

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Witnesses are sworn in at a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Security regarding the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act of 2016. President Biden signed the most recent version of the act into law in August.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

New listings in AVMA Animal Health Studies Database

Below are some of the new listings of veterinary clinical studies in the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database. Information about participating in the studies is available at avma.org/findvetstudies.

  • AAHSD005320: “Evaluation of injury-initiated B cell activation after orthopedic surgery in dogs,” University of California-Davis.

  • AAHSD005325: “High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation as single modality treatment for canine subcutaneous tumors,” Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • AAHSD005326: “Comparison of the efficacy & impact on suppressor cells of CHOP vs. LOPP chemotherapy in canine T-cell lymphoma,” University of Pennsylvania.

  • AAHSD005330: “F18 FDG PET/CT and cytology for canine lymphoma,” Colorado State University.

  • AAHSD005334: “Minimally invasive metastasectomy in canines (MIMIC) trial,” Veterinary Specialty Hospital–North County, San Marcos, California.

  • AAHSD005335: “Metabolomics trial to evaluate for systemic consequences of dysbiosis,” Veterinary Specialty Hospital–North County, San Marcos, California, and Veterinary Specialty Hospital–Sorrento Valley, San Diego.

  • AAHSD005336: “Pneumonia pathogen analysis study,” Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center of Hawaii, Honolulu.

  • AAHSD005338: “F18 FDG PET/CT following radiation therapy,” Colorado State University.

  • AAHSD005340: “Evaluation of inhaled recombinant-human IL-15 combined with standard-of-care in dogs with osteosarcoma,” Colorado State University, University of California-Davis, University of Illinois, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • AAHSD005341: “A preclinical feasibility study evaluating the use of deep CIVO, a novel intra-tumoral micro-injection device, in canine patients with cancer,” Veterinary Cancer & Surgery Specialists, Milwaukie, Oregon, and Bridge Animal Referral Center, Edmonds, Washington.

National Veterinary Technician Week focuses on self-care

Veterinary technicians are integral players on the veterinary team. They work tirelessly in examination rooms, laboratories, and operating rooms, according to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, putting to work their vast technical and scientific knowledge treating and caring for every species of animal.

The broad skills of veterinary technicians—both professional and personal—allow veterinarians to work more efficiently and effectively. And they do it all with love and a smile, day after day, according to a NAVTA press release announcing National Veterinary Technician Week, which is October 17-23 this year.

NAVTA is behind the week that is meant to celebrate, recognize, and promote the valuable contributions credentialed veterinary technicians make to the veterinary profession and society. The main goals of the event are to educate the public about these vital members of veterinary teams, reinforce the value and professionalism of veterinary technicians, provide an opportunity to recognize them for excellent performance in their work, and acknowledge veterinarians for hiring credentialed veterinary technicians.

The theme this year, “Who We Are When The Stethoscopes Come Off,” focuses on the critical aspect of self-care, said Ed Carlson, president of NAVTA.

“Veterinary Technicians and their colleagues have worked incredibly hard over the past 18 months, handling a workload and stress level never seen before,” Carlson said in a press release, referring to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is critically important that NAVTA emphasize the importance of self-care and a healthy work-life balance.”

The week kicks off on Oct. 17 with raffles and prizes through NAVTA's social media sites for the association's members. The week includes several free webinars focusing on self-care and concludes with a surprise free fun virtual event on Oct. 23.

Hill's Pet Nutrition, which sponsors the week, is providing not only funding for social media and public relations outreach but also its own self-care resources, including a free yoga instructional video and a video on how to make simple meals. Hill's field representatives will also personally deliver National Veterinary Technician Week posters and other goodies to their clients across nearly 5,000 practices in the U.S.

Visit navta.net/page/nat_vet_tech for more information and to download NAVTA's 2021 National Veterinary Tech Week Poster or access sample press releases and public service announcements, presentation and event ideas, and more.

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The Student AVMA House of Delegates and SAVMA Chapter Presidents hybrid in-person and virtual meetings occurred July 31-Aug. 1. Student delegates passed two bylaws amendments, and SAVMA chapter presidents are working to increase the connection between themselves and SAVMA delegates. (Photos by Hanna Netisingha)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

SAVMA stays focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion

Funding priorities reallocated, among other highlights from meeting

By Malinda Larkin

Veterinary student leaders continued to advance initiatives and ideas relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion during their most recent meeting.

The Student AVMA House of Delegates and SAVMA Chapter Presidents hybrid in-person and virtual meetings occurred July 31-Aug. 1 in conjunction with AVMA Virtual Convention 2021. This was the first time student leaders had a chance to be together in person in two years. Participating in either format were 80 delegates from 39 veterinary schools representing over 17,000 veterinary students.

SAVMA delegates approved two amendments to the SAVMA Bylaws. The first amendment added the language in bold to the SAVMA purpose: “The objective of SAVMA shall be to introduce veterinary students to the concept of organized veterinary medicine; to promote, enhance and support professionalism and veterinary medical education; to advocate for and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and wellbeing in veterinary medical education and extracurricular programs; and to encourage the development and empowerment of students as leaders in the profession of veterinary medicine and the community as a whole.”

According to the amendment justification: “As SAVMA, we have the responsibility as student leaders to change the organization's purpose to match the current needs of the profession and our students. Currently, we have recognized the importance of increasing diversity, equity, inclusion and wellbeing in veterinary medical education and veterinary medicine. By including this statement in our bylaws, we make a formal commitment to integrating DEI and wellbeing concepts into all our programming and activities. Last year, we officially signed on the Wake Up Vet Med Initiative. To honor this commitment it is important to set an example for our chapters that SAVMA will lead with principles of DEI and wellbeing in all of our programming and decision making. This simple wording will hopefully inspire our chapters to do the same and to re-commit and frame our activities moving forward to better represent our student bodies and the challenges they face, and to encourage further focus on diversity and inclusion going forward.”

Other updates

SAVMA delegates also heard reports from the officers and the committees.

Some entities changed their funding priorities. For example, the Animal Welfare and Environmental Stewardship Committee and the International Veterinary Experience Committee reallocated some of their funds to COVID relief grants, while the Public Health and Community Outreach Committee redirected money to create a new grant to encourage interdisciplinary projects in one health.

The Integrative Communications and Diversity Committee created, with the guidance of AVMA survey specialists, a Racial Equity, Discrimination, and Bias Survey, which had six sections of questions and was sent to all SAVMA members. The committee also created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Showcase to highlight students’ work and events from different schools, as well as put together infographics on how to support students from historically marginalized groups.

Hidayah Martinez-Jaka, SAVMA president, has been working on pipeline projects, including a SAVMA Membership Satisfaction Survey, examining Spanish in veterinary education, prioritizing DEI and membership value by speaking on these topics and gathering input from SAVMA delegates to ensure transparency and accessibility, and focusing on workplace dynamics and the connection between veterinary students and veterinary technology students.

Pallavi Oruganti, cultural outreach officer, created a diversity scholarship to the SAVMA Symposium for attendees who attended DEI sessions, hosted a Vet Med United Day webinar and speaker panel on journeys to well-being in veterinary medicine, and proposed the bylaws amendment of SAVMA mission on DEI.

Jonathan Dumas, representative for the chapter presidents, altered how SAVMA chapter presidents conduct business at their annual convention meeting and restructured their working groups to align with desires to build a community of SAVMA chapter presidents who are better equipped to deal with the challenges of veterinary school while supporting the needs of their peers at their respective universities. These changes largely focused on broadening their personal and professional networks through community engagement, the sharing of resources, and the introduction of open forums, which allow students to exchange thoughts and ideas on the basis of personal accounts of shared experiences.

In addition, two new SAVMA chapters were approved, for Long Island University and the University of Arizona.

Guest speakers and elections

Also during the hybrid meetings, a number of speakers addressed the veterinary students.

Among them was Dr. Wanda Wilson-Egbe, chief veterinarian for the National Disaster Medical System. She presented on the role that veterinarians have played in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, an overview of the NDMS, her path in disaster response as a veterinarian, and the opportunities available in this field for veterinarians.

Dr. José Arce, AVMA president, offered words of appreciation for the work that SAVMA does to support veterinary students and the entire veterinary profession.

The SAVMA HOD elected some new SAVMA officers-elect who will start their full term as officers at SAVMA Symposium 2022 in March: Makenna Koslosky, secretary-elect, Utah State University; Blaire MacNeill, treasurer-elect, Colorado State University; Lauren Spendley, editor-in-chief–elect, University of Florida; and Djion Holness, cultural outreach officer–elect, Cornell University.

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Dr. José Arce, AVMA president, and Hidayah Martinez-Jaka, SAVMA president, both spoke at the SAVMA HOD hybrid meeting.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Veterinarians still warming up to telemedicine

By R. Scott Nolen

Dr. Greg Bishop believes veterinary telemedicine has the potential to, among other things, promote animal welfare, reach unserved pet populations, and appeal to tech-savvy pet owners.

And yet the small animal general practitioner from Portland, Oregon, believes many veterinarians are, for now, unlikely to embrace telemedicine in any serious way, seeing it as inferior to traditional hands-on examinations.

Dr. Bishop thinks that's a mistake.

Studies show “clients are really happy with telemedicine and are willing to pay for it. What we lose out on in terms of certain clinical aspects, we make up for by not stressing out animals by coming to the veterinary clinic,” explained Dr. Bishop, who spoke during the session “Veterinary Telemedicine: What's the Evidence?” on July 29 during AVMA Virtual Convention 2021.

He also referenced a handful of surveys showing most U.S. and European veterinarians see telemedicine as incompatible with veterinary medicine. In addition to concerns relating to profitability and the legality of prescription writing, veterinarians’ primary complaint was that animal patients cannot be properly diagnosed via a video stream, text message, or email.

Dr. Bishop's own research suggests the recent surge in veterinary telemedicine offerings is temporary. Working with the Veterinary Information Network, Dr. Bishop fielded a survey in fall 2020 of small animal practitioners in North America measuring the prevalence of telemedicine usage during the pandemic. While the survey confirmed a spike in the number of practices conducting visits via videoconference (42%), most respondents said they would no longer offer the service once public health restrictions are lifted.

“So the tendency was to use it (telemedicine) to get through it (the pandemic) and then be done with it,” Dr. Bishop explained. “And even of those affected by the restrictions, less than half were using this technology, which to me is a surprisingly low percentage.”

Dr. Bishop sought to allay some of veterinarians’ concerns about telemedicine during his presentation. For starters, he cited two surveys, from 2018 and 2020, that found people were willing to pay between $38-$40 for a virtual visit with a veterinarian. Though admittedly low, the fee is notable in light of the 2011 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study that found a sizable proportion of U.S. pet owners cited cost as the reason why they didn’t take their pets to a veterinarian.

“It's actually an advantage that a telemedicine visit would be cheaper because it's accessible to a lot of people, and there's a lot of people that need that,” Dr. Bishop said.

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Dr. Greg Bishop

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Cats and the power of the human-animal bond

By R. Scott Nolen

Felis catus is at long last getting the respect it deserves, says Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant.

A growing body of research into feline health and behavior increasingly challenges the stereotypical image of the aloof, antisocial cat. The result is that, now more than ever, cat owners have available to them an array of feline-specific products and veterinary services that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago.

“Things are changing for cats in a very good way,” said Dale in a session titled “Cats Really Are Man's (and Woman's) Best Friends: But Is the Bond as Real as It Is With Dogs?” He was one of several presenters featured as part of the Explorations of the Human-Animal Bond sessions at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021.

According to Dale, millennials, the generation typically defined as being born between 1981 and 1996, are largely behind this shift. “Millennials—and I can’t say this enough—care about the emotional well-being of their pets more than any other group that came before them,” he said.

Data show veterinary visits by cat-owning millennials are on the rise, as are their purchases of flea and tick products, dental care, vaccinations, and heartworm preventives.

Dale cited a survey showing 55% of cat-owning millennials consider their felines not only as family members but also as children. Approximately 74% of millennials said they are more likely to visit their veterinarian if the veterinarian discusses the health benefits of the human-animal bond.

In a separate convention session, Steven Feldman, president of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, said bond-focused practices will distinguish themselves within the competitive market for veterinary services.

“Millennials and younger pet owners, they really want to have these meaningful relationships and conversations with you, so if you acknowledge the science (of the human-animal bond) in the exam room, you’re going to create a preference in the marketplace for that brand of veterinary medicine,” Feldman explained.

As ambassadors for the human-animal bond, veterinarians should be familiar with the science showing the health benefits of pet ownership, such as reducing the harms of social isolation. “Everyone has feelings about the bond,” Feldman said, “but make sure that your discussions are grounded in the scientific research.”

Dale noted in his presentation that although Americans own more cats than dogs, cats are far less likely than dogs to receive routine veterinary checkups. Reasons include sticker shock over the cost of veterinary services and the belief that cats are self-sufficient and don’t need veterinary care.

Then there is the ordeal of bringing a cat to the clinic. “Lots of people say they don’t love going to the veterinarian,” Dale said, “but people who have cats, more than a third say they (veterinary visits) are really stressful, and about 60% say my pet hates—hate, that's a pretty strong word—hates going to the veterinarian.”

In addition, more cats are surrendered each year to animal shelters than dogs, Dale continued, with the most common reasons cited for relinquishment being behavioral problems, such as house soiling, and allergies to cat dander.

Clients may be embarrassed to tell the veterinarian that their cat is urinating outside the litter box or exhibiting some other negative behavior. They might not know the veterinarian can help. Dale had a message for veterinarians: “On day one, when a client comes to you with a kitten or adopted cat, you say that, ‘If there's ever a behavior problem, I can help you. And if I can’t help you myself, I can offer a referral to a veterinary behaviorist.’”

To combat the serious problem of human allergies to cats, Dale noted the release in early 2020 of Purina Pro Plan LiveClear, a cat food formulated to reduce the major cat allergen called Fel d 1 in cat hair and dander by nearly half.

The result of all of these factors is what Dale described as a rebranding of cats. “It's happened, and it's happening,” he said, “and that is a very good thing.”

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The stereotypical image of the antisocial cat is in decline thanks to a growing body of research into feline health and behavior as well as millennials who think of their pets as children.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Speakers offer tips for building a presence online

By Kaitlyn Mattson

Two sessions at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 focused on how veterinary practices can create community and interact with clients online, particularly through social media and practice websites.

Dr. Caitlin DeWilde, founder of The Social DVM, a social media and marketing company, presented “Aim High: 7 Ways to Build Your Hospital's Presence and Reputation” on July 29, with information on how to communicate more effectively and create a presence. The session was sponsored by LifeLearn, an animal health software company.

Dr. DeWilde spoke about the following seven aim-high ideas:

  • It's all about you. Make yourself the focus of your online presence, and consider how to make a good first impression by using photos and a crisp and clean website design and highlighting what is different about the practice.

  • Invest in your message. Take control of the information that is out there on your website, on social media, and in marketing materials.

  • Make content work. Don’t just post to post. Activate your content, and make sure there is a clear call to action such as a “book now” button.

  • Help clients adapt. Showcase your ability to adapt and your commitment by educating clients on everything from curbside service to new technology.

  • Increase touch points. Use several ways to communicate with clients. Consider asking the best way to reach them. Stay in touch.

  • Give and grow expectations with clients. Set expectations to eliminate potential frustration and create better relationships.

  • Hail the easy. Clients value convenience. Easy for them, easy for you. Consider asking questions such as: Where can I make it easier for clients? How can I create less work for my team?

Dr. DeWilde suggests picking one of the seven aim-high action items that will make the biggest impact on pet owners to start building presence.

“When we build presence, we are able to create relationships that really matter, and that will give pet owners and their pets, of course, a lifetime of care,” Dr. DeWilde said during the session. “Take some of these ideas, and aim high in your hospital.”

Robert Sanchez, founder and CEO of Digital Empathy, a veterinary marketing company, discussed what pet owners are looking for in a practice website on July 31 during the session “A Trust-Building Website.”

“We can’t market ourselves like a dentist would—more like a pediatrician,” Sanchez said. He added that most pet owners now find a veterinarian using the internet.

“We go to Google, check reviews, narrow it down, and then check out the website,” he said. “We are looking for a feeling, a gut feeling that it feels right.… That is how modern consumers make decisions.”

But how to create that feeling on a website? It isn’t logical, Sanchez said.

“When you feel seen and protected, trust emerges. It is an instinct based on values and beliefs,” he said. “Most veterinary websites today are all the same. … The solution is to differentiate.”

Sanchez suggests building a story around pet owners. Make them the hero of the story. He said, “Show them you understand them as the central component of the story.”

Sanchez said to focus on the homepage and the team page because these two sections of a website specifically focus on who you are and what the practice is about. He added that the careers page is also important to attract prospective employees.

Algal blooms endanger livestock, pets

By Greg Cima

Animals aren’t picky about which water to drink, even when it's tinted green or red.

Water with those colors or green mats on the surface may contain harmful algal blooms, proliferations of microbes that produce substances toxic to animals. Pets, for example, may ingest those organisms not only by having a drink but also by grooming themselves after a swim.

Dr. Sherri Lyn Kasper, who is a private practitioner in Tallahassee, Florida, and chair of the AVMA Committee on Environmental Issues, taught veterinarians at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 how to identify the various signs of intoxication related to blooms, what treatments might be needed, and how to educate clients on identifying potential danger. She delivered a lecture, “The Effects of Harmful Algal Blooms on Our Patients,” July 29.

In recent years, federal health authorities have been gathering information on the harm caused by algal blooms and educating the public about those risks. In December 2020, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported HABs had sickened at least 389 people and 413 animals during three years of surveillance, 2016-18. Those figures were among the first data published through the CDC's One Health Harmful Algal Bloom System. Of the 92 animal cases with reported signs, slightly more than half of signs were gastrointestinal.

Wildlife—especially wild birds—accounted for most illnesses in animals. But the figures also included at least 50 dogs and 36 cattle.

In her session, Dr. Kasper noted the differences in clinical signs among HAB exposures. Hepatotoxins cause liver damage, depression, vomiting, and jaundice. Neurotoxins cause signs ranging from ataxia to respiratory system paralysis. And dermatoxins cause irritation to skin and airways.

“Asking the client whether or not that animal has been near a water source or, if you happen to be going out to a farm, looking at the herd and looking at the water source the herd is drinking from is going to be very helpful,” she said.

Physical examinations will be broad, and clinical signs will be dose dependent, she said. If an animal has recent exposure to a waterway and signs related to HAB exposure, a veterinarian may consider asking a client to collect a water sample for testing.

Dr. Kasper also said veterinarians may want to research how to submit water samples and patient specimens now so they are prepared for any potential HAB exposures. She noted that state governments often provide information on confirmed or suspected HABs, and some accept reports of related illnesses.

Detoxification can include steps such as bathing animals to remove leftover toxins from their coats and inducing vomiting.

Treatments can range widely by the types of substances, and they may include administration of activated charcoal, intravenous fluids, anti-seizure medications, antimicrobials, anti-emetic drugs, vitamin K, or plasma. Some patients may need respiratory support, and some may need a month of antioxidant administration to protect their liver.

“With the right type of supportive care, many of these patients can survive,” Dr. Kasper said.

Demographic data included in 2021 internship, residency matching summary

The 2021 summary for the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program for the first time includes gender and racial identity data on the 2,309 applicants. The program is sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. The data show the following.

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Additional information about the 2021 applicant pool is available in the online version of this article at jav.ma/matchdata as well as from the AAVC at jav.ma/match21

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Chewy sues companies on allegations of misleading customers, diverting sales

By Greg Cima

Pet product retailer Chewy is accusing a software provider and a competing pharmacy company of conspiring to divert prescriptions placed with Chewy.

In May, attorneys for Chewy filed a lawsuit in New York state against Vetcove, which provides software for veterinary practices, and Covetrus, which provides pharmacy services for veterinary practices. The complaint filed in court also indicates that Chewy may later name other defendants in the lawsuit.

“Vetcove and Covetrus intentionally interfere with the pet parent's order of regulated pet products placed with Chewy,” the complaint states. The complaint also alleges that the other companies’ actions have delayed delivery of needed medications and hurt Chewy's relationship with its customers.

At press time in September, attorneys for Vetcove had not yet filed a response and had not responded to requests for comment from JAVMA News. In August, attorneys for Covetrus sought dismissal of the complaint against the company, stating in a filing with the court that Chewy's complaint fails to allege any wrongdoing by Covetrus and countering that Chewy was trying to prevent veterinarians from communicating with their own clients when it comes to sales of prescription products.

According to Chewy's complaint, veterinary clinics use Vetcove's prescription management software to handle requests from outside retailers such as Chewy to verify prescriptions for drugs or food when clients order from that retailer.

Chewy's attorneys allege that, in multiple instances since late 2020, veterinarians authorized the requests, but the software responded by sending messages to the clients that appear to come from their veterinarian or veterinary clinic. Those messages, according to the complaint, suggested the clinic could offer additional discounts on the prescription products or that further action was needed to complete the order.

If clients followed links in the messages and placed new orders with Covetrus, the Vetcove software would send messages to the original retailers denying the requests for authorization, the complaint alleges.

A court filing from early September indicates that Vetcove would file a response to the complaint by Oct. 8.

Attorneys for Covetrus responded by seeking a dismissal of their client, indicating in part that the lawsuit focuses on accusations against Vetcove and participating veterinarians yet also seeks to hold Covetrus responsible for an undefined conspiracy. The attorneys also wrote that the lawsuit lacks any descriptions of actions by Covetrus under the jurisdiction of the New York state court.

CDC, USDA work toward robust surveillance programs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled plans in August for a new outbreak analysis and forecast hub for anticipating infectious disease threats and helping deal with them in real time.

Later that month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is dedicating $300 million in American Rescue Plan funding to conduct surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging and zoonotic diseases in susceptible animals and build an early warning system.

The CDC Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, expected to be operational in 2022, is intended to improve the federal government's ability to forecast and model emerging threats, expand data-sharing capabilities, and communicate quickly with key public health decision-makers to quickly respond to an infectious disease outbreak.

“This is an amazing opportunity for CDC and public health as we stand up the country's first government-wide public health forecasting center,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, in an Aug. 19 press release.

“We are excited to have the expertise and ability to model and forecast public health concerns and share information in real-time to activate governmental, private sector, and public actions in anticipation of threats both domestically and abroad,” Dr. Walensky added.

The center's leadership was chosen primarily from academia and the private sector. Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, a Harvard University epidemiologist, will serve as director of science. Dylan George, PhD, vice president of business development at Ginkgo Bioworks Inc., will be director of operations. Caitlin Rivers, PhD, an epidemiologist with Johns Hopkins University, will be associate director. Rebecca Kahn, PhD, a Harvard University epidemiology researcher, will be the center's senior scientist.

“The new center will meet a longstanding need for a national focal point to analyze data and forecast the trajectory of pandemics with the express goal of informing and improving decisions with the best available evidence,” Dr. Lipsitch said in the CDC statement.

Funding for the center comes from President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed by Congress this March. The spending bill allocated half a billion dollars to the CDC for public health surveillance and analytics and to modernize the nation's disease warning system.

At the USDA, American Rescue Plan funding will help build an early warning system to alert public health partners to potential threats so they can act quickly to prevent or limit another pandemic.

Establishing an early warning system that will help protect both people and animals from future disease threats will require a multiyear effort, the USDA said in an Aug. 24 press release.

The USDA will build on its existing infrastructure to implement a risk-based, comprehensive, integrated disease monitoring and surveillance system domestically and to enhance collaborations with national, regional, and global partners to build additional capacity for zoonotic disease surveillance and prevention using a one-health approach.

“We are pleased that the USDA is moving forward with a one-health approach to surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging zoonotic diseases,” said Dr. José Arce, AVMA president. “The AVMA fully supported the $300 million for monitoring and surveillance in the American Rescue Plan and looks forward to providing input on the Strategic Plan that the USDA announced.”

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is responsible for implementing the early warning system and was taking public comments on its Strategic Framework until Oct. 8. The framework is available at jav.ma/Framework.

VHMA celebrates 40 years of advancing veterinary managers

Before the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association's founding in 1981, most veterinary hospitals were not managed by people with the unique skills needed to run the business side of a practice, according to the association. Instead, veterinarian owners usually assumed a dual role, caring for animals and dealing with finances, human resources, and other practice management essentials, or had their spouses assist.

Mark Opperman was a rare exception—a nonveterinarian who successfully managed a 12-doctor veterinary practice.

“I was presenting at a hospital design conference when I met several colleagues who were also non-DVM practice managers,” said Opperman, who became VHMA's first president, in a VHMA press release. “We commiserated about the lack of resources and information available to practice managers and decided we could do something about it.”

That discussion laid the foundation for creating the VHMA. Through the work of the association's 13 founding members and the leaders that followed, VHMA professionalized practice management by establishing standards and the credential of certified veterinary practice manager while growing to more than 4,200 members.

Initially, many veterinarians were reluctant to hand over practice management responsibilities, according to the VHMA.

To show how having a hospital manager could benefit a practice, the organization clarified practice management roles and created job descriptions that distinguished among office manager, practice manager, and hospital administrator. Each job description highlighted essential tasks and skills.

Practice managers, at the time, were also largely seen as administrative assistants, according to the VHMA, but as the organization grew, it offered education, resources, and a network of colleagues that contributed to members’ professional development. Tools helped managers define their role and advocate for recognition and responsibilities in the practice.

“Early on, VHMA invested heavily in analytics because members were eager to learn as much as they could about the economics of establishing and running a practice,” said Owen E. McCafferty, 1993-94 VHMA president, in the press release.

Finally, the launch of the program to certify practice managers played a pivotal role in professionalizing the position, said Sandra Brown Wiltshire, 2001-03 VHMA president. In 2006, the program earned accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

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The founding members of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association circa 1981 (Photos courtesy of VHMA)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Now, thanks to VHMA and its leaders and members, a job that was once done mostly by veterinarians out of necessity is now a well-defined professional career held by people with a highly specialized skill set.

“VHMA is comprised of generous, welcoming, and caring members who understand that the association's success depends on our members’ success,” said Michelle Gonzales-Bryant, VHMA president. “Reaching 40 years of success is a tremendous accomplishment, and I am grateful to the many people who have supported and contributed to VHMA: past officers and boards of directors, members, sponsors, and staff.”

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Mark Opperman, VHMA's first president, with DeeDee Prather, VHMA's first executive director and a member of his staff

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Enjoy cuddly moments, with caution against disease risks

Contact with animals in public settings continues to cause illness and outbreaks

By Greg Cima

In a normal year, crowds jam the aisles of animal barns at the Minnesota State Fair—especially the “Miracle of Birth” exhibit.

People gather to see the first moments of calves, lambs, and ducklings.

Weeks after the 2019 fair ended, the Minnesota Department of Health identified 11 fairgoers who were positive for infection with Escherichia coli O157:H7, seven of whom were hospitalized and one of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Ten of the 11 people with confirmed infections had visited the “Miracle of Birth” exhibit, a higher proportion than among the average fair attendees.

Dr. Malia Ireland, a zoonotic diseases epidemiologist for the state health department, said in a presentation for a public health series at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 that veterinarians can help to reduce zoonotic disease risks—not only in agricultural settings but also in a rising number of interactions between people and animals. In the Twin Cities, goats mix with people at yoga sessions and in one brewery's beer garden, she said. Cat cafés are becoming more popular, and people are bringing their dogs to restaurants.

“If you have clients who are running agritourism venues, you can start discussions about zoonotic diseases,” Dr. Ireland said. “Have they thought about how to protect their visitors? What questions do they have that you can help with?”

Enteric diseases linked to animals or their environments cause an estimated 450,000 illnesses each year in the U.S., with 5,000 hospitalizations and 76 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2020, CDC officials published an analysis of 59 enteric disease outbreaks that began in 2017 and were associated with animal contact. They found 18 Salmonella outbreaks, by far, caused the most harm, with 1,237 illnesses and two deaths, and Cryptosporidium caused the second most illnesses through 21 outbreaks with 158 illnesses.

Although homes were the most common exposure locations, farms and dairies were the most common outbreak sources that were open to the public, followed by festivals, fairs, and agricultural feed stores, the report states.

The 2017 National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians’ Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2017;251:1268-1292), which is the most recent edition, states that young children are at greater risk than adults of acquiring enteric pathogens from animals. It also indicates stress increases the likelihood animals will shed pathogens, and commingling animals increases the probability those pathogens will infect other animals, the compendium states.

“Young animals, which are frequently included in settings such as petting zoos, farm visits, and educational programs for children, have a higher prevalence of shedding enteric pathogens such as E coli O157:H7 than do mature animals,” the NASPHV compendium states. “Animal shedding of E coli O157:H7 and Salmonella organisms is highest in the summer and fall, when traveling animal exhibits, agricultural fairs, and farm or petting zoo visits are commonly scheduled.”

Agritourism is growing

Carrie Klumb, senior epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health, said in another of the public health presentations at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 that, from 2002-17, U.S. farms’ reported income from agritourism and recreation grew 370%.

Her state alone has 93 county fairs and a state fair that together draw about 4.5 million visitors each year. About 300 more nonfair agritourism venues in Minnesota attract an unknown number of people with petting zoos, farm stays, tours, and breakfasts.

“Because there is no professional organization and there is no licensing requirement in our state, it's hard for operators to find credible information and really learn what those best practices are,” she said. “So the health department saw a need to work upstream to try to prevent these outbreaks from happening in the first place and really try to provide those resources and those best practices to operators that wouldn’t otherwise know where to find them.”

The department has been offering free education through its Safer Farm Animal Contact Exhibits program; has developed handouts for venue operators to distribute ahead of field trips, tours, and school visits; and has produced videos on how to set up venues in ways that protect visitors.

Dr. Russ Daly, South Dakota's state public health veterinarian, is chair of the committee that is starting work this fall on updates for the next edition of the NASPHV's compendium. He has similar concerns about getting information into the hands of people running small-scale agritourism operations. The operators of fairs and other large-scale attractions tend to be familiar with the compendium, he said, but he worries that the owners of a small dairy, for example, may have difficulty finding that information.

As his NASPHV committee works to update the compendium, its members also have developed a toolkit with handouts and flow charts intended to be useful for small operations.

“So, now our challenge is: How do we make sure people are aware of that?” Dr. Daly said. “Every state's a little different, and that's where the state public health vets come into play.”

Local veterinarians, too, can help advise their clients on how to keep people safe—not only the public but also farmers and their families, Dr. Daly said.

“We have a public that is less exposed to these germs on a daily basis, so their immune systems are not equipped to deal with some of these exposures,” he said. “And even our farmers who work with animals every day, they’re not immune from getting sick.”

Dr. Joni Scheftel, Minnesota's state public health veterinarian, described those risks to farmers and farmworkers during a session in the public health lecture series. Pathogens are an occupational hazard in animal agriculture, she said.

She and colleagues within the Minnesota Department of Health analyzed data from 2012-16, especially the sporadic illnesses among people who had contact with agricultural animals. Among their findings, she said, the people who live or work on farms were eight times more likely to develop zoonotic enteric infections than the general population in the state.

“Traditionally, agricultural research has focused on noninfectious hazards in farming, such as injuries, pesticides, hearing loss, and other noninfectious threats that have been really well studied,” Dr. Scheftel said. “But systematic population-based surveillance on zoonotic diseases, particularly enteric diseases in animal ag workers, is lacking.”

The researchers published their findings in a 2020 article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Infection.

Venues need help to improve sanitation, facility designs

The NASPHV's compendium details potential contamination sources and factors that mitigate enteric zoonotic disease risk, including cleaning and sanitation methods, facility designs that separate people from contaminated surfaces, and selections of animals for exhibits. It also includes providing regular inspections of animals by veterinarians and veterinary care for ill animals.

“Contact and interaction with animals in public settings can be a valuable means of education and entertainment,” the compendium states. “People who provide these opportunities to the public as well as those attending such venues should be aware of the potential health risks associated with such venues and understand that even apparently healthy animals can transmit pathogens.”

Dr. Daly, who was also chair of the committee that wrote the 2017 edition, said it's unclear whether the U.S. is seeing any changes in the volumes of people becoming ill after contact with animals in public settings, especially as most illnesses go unreported.

“I don’t know that there's been any dramatic trends that we’re able to put our fingers on,” Dr. Daly said. “One thing, when we talk about animals in public settings that's changed in the last year and a half, of course, is that many of those venues and events were shut down due to COVID.”

But the numbers of confirmed infections also may decline because people have been more reluctant during the pandemic to seek medical care for stomach cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. And Dr. Daly noted he has seen fewer enteric disease–related updates as veterinarians in public health departments have shifted toward work on the COVID-19 response.

During the past 10 years, the people who run animal events and venues have been adding more signage and thinking more carefully about how to reduce visitor contact with animals—especially at fairs and other large annual events, Dr. Daly said. And he thinks the infectious disease principles learned by the public during the pandemic could help people remain more attuned to the overall need for hand-washing and hygiene to reduce their disease risk.

Dr. Megin Nichols, enteric zoonoses activity lead for the CDC, said people can take small steps to prevent illnesses, notably hand-washing and keeping food out of environments with animals. Infections can be severe or even deadly, especially for young children, people older than 65, and those with weakened immune systems.

“Any illnesses, any outbreaks that occur are preventable,” she said.

Veterinarians are key to reducing transmission in public settings, especially as people find new ways and venues to interact with animals, Dr. Nichols said. Veterinarians have not only the knowledge key to preventing illnesses but also the engagement with venue operators or owners about their animals.

“By the time it gets to my desk here at CDC, it's too late because I’m investigating the outbreak that resulted,” she said.

She recommends that veterinarians advise clients how to minimize contamination in areas people will visit, help them plan how people will wash their hands after contact with animals, and dispel mistaken beliefs that seemingly healthy animals are free of zoonotic pathogens.

Dr. Nichols said she and others at the CDC want people to engage with animals.

“It's a really wonderful thing to get to enjoy and experience,” she said. “We just want to make sure that people do so safely.”

Illnesses and hospitalizations from 59 outbreaks starting in 2017 and associated with animal contact

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Ways veterinarians can reduce the risk of zoonotic enteric diseases

Veterinarians can work with clients who operate venues where the public has contact with animals to reduce the risk of people contracting zoonotic enteric diseases. Some tips are as follows.

  • Help clients minimize contamination on surfaces touched by the public.

  • Teach clients that even seemingly healthy animals can carry and shed zoonoses.

  • Work with clients to identify where they should set up hand-washing stations.

  • Inspect animals at venues for public exhibitions or interactions.

  • Provide preventive care for animals, including vaccinations.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians

People

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Event

Virtual annual forum, June 9-12

Program

The college provided more than 300 sessions and several hundred e-posters on a virtual platform. All content was available until Sept. 30.

Awards

Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence

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Dr. I.G. Joe Mayhew

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Dr. I.G. Joe Mayhew (Massey ’68), Palmerston North, New Zealand. Dr. Mayhew is a professor emeritus at Massey University School of Veterinary Sciences and a veterinary consultant in New Zealand. He is a diplomate of the ACVIM in large animal internal medicine and neurology and a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Neurology, a fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and a member of the European Society of Veterinary Neurology. Dr. Mayhew authored the second edition of the textbook “Large Animal Neurology.”

ACVIM Lee and Inge Pyle Service Award

Dr. Michelle Barton (Illinois ’85), Athens, Georgia, for outstanding and dedicated service to the ACVIM in a volunteer capacity for 10 or more years. Dr. Barton is director of clinical academic affairs at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. A diplomate of the ACVIM in large animal internal medicine, she oversees the program for third-and fourth-year veterinary students and teaches in the Large Animal Teaching Hospital.

Lifetime Specialty Achievement Awards

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Dr. Stephen Ettinger

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Drs. Alexander de Lahunta (Cornell ’58), Rye, New Hampshire, and Stephen Ettinger (Cornell ’64), Laguna Hills, California. Recently deceased (see story, page 834), Dr. de Lahunta was James Law Professor of Anatomy emeritus and a past director of what is now known as the Hospital for Animals at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. During his tenure, he also chaired the Department of Clinical Sciences and the Department of Anatomy at the veterinary college. Dr. de Lahunta was a founding member and diplomate in neurology of the ACVIM and helped establish the specialty of neurology at the college. Dr. Ettinger co-founded Berkeley Veterinary Medical Group, the first private veterinary specialty group practice in the United States. During his career, he has also served as a clinical professor at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and been a part of what was known as the California Animal Hospital Veterinary Specialty Group. Dr. Ettinger co-authored the textbook “Canine Cardiology” and authored “Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine.” He is a charter diplomate of the ACVIM in cardiology and served as the first president of the ACVIM Specialty of Cardiology.

New Diplomates

Cardiology

Lyndsay Kong, Calgary, Alberta

Large animal internal medicine

Kari Bevevino, Bryan, Texas

Lauren Bookbinder, Woodstock, Connecticut

Shannon Darby, Lillington, North Carolina

Barbara Delvescovo, Ithaca, New York

Lisa Edwards, Davis, California

Stephanie Frank, Lake Forest, California

Lisanne Gallant, Lambton, Australia

Eloi Guarnieri, Montreal

Aja Harvey, Raritan, New Jersey

Bruno Karam, Bothell, Washington

Thibaud Kuca, Estévenens, Switzerland

Amy Lack, Guelph. Ontario

Estelle Manguin, Maisons-Alfort, France

Mariya Pitel, Pacific Grove, California

Valentina Ragno, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Jacob Swink, Acme, Pennsylvania

Leslie Weaver, Manhattan, Kansas

Andrew Willis, Stephenville, Texas

Oncology

Vincent Baldanza, Los Angeles

Joshua Henry, Ithaca, New York

Edwina Love, Norwalk, Connecticut

Christine Oakley, Woodland Hills, California

Irene Vazquez, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ariana Verrilli, West Sand Lake, New York

Small animal internal medicine

Erin Allen, Red Bank, New Jersey

Emilia Bourassi, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Jose Ignacio Casado Diaz, Zurich

Lauren Cochran, St. Petersburg, Florida

Sarah Cocker-Scott, San Diego

Shannon Darby, Lillington, North Carolina

Lesli Kibler, Sutton, Massachusetts

Allison Leuin, Vista, California

Laura Motschenbacher, St. Paul, Minnesota

Matthew Munro, Newport, Australia

Laura Seibert, Beavercreek, Ohio

Julie Walter, Sunderland, Ontario

OFFICIALS

Drs. Laura Garrett, Urbana, Illinois, chair, Board of Regents; Harold McKenzie, Blacksburg, Virginia, president; Jane Sykes, Davis, California, president-elect; Allen Roussel, College Station, Texas, treasurer; Jane Armstrong, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, immediate past chair; Steven Rosenthal, Towson, Maryland, Specialty of Cardiology president; Joan Coates, Columbia, Missouri, Specialty of Neurology president; Ruthanne Chun, Madison, Wisconsin, Specialty of Oncology president; Joerg Steiner, College Station, Texas, Specialty of Small Animal Internal Medicine president; Chris Sanchez, Gainesville, Florida, Specialty of Large Animal Internal Medicine president; and Linda Fineman, Bozeman, Montana, ACVIM chief executive officer

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Dr. Laura Garrett

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

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Dr. Harold McKenzie

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

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Dr. Jane Sykes

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

American Association Of Industry Veterinarians

Event

Virtual reception, July 27

Program

The reception was held prior to AVMA Virtual Convention 2021. The association celebrated the launch of its new mentorship program. Bryan Severns, manager of food programs and services at Kansas State University in Olathe, presented a demonstration on making the Gold Rush cocktail.

Business

Information about the AAIV is available via the website or social media.

Members may use the website to access business- and career-related webinars, compensation surveys, and other career resources.

Officials

Drs. Matt Krecic, Chicago, president; Tim Smaha, Columbia, South Carolina, president-elect; Allison Sateren, Jupiter, Florida, secretary; Eduardo Vivas, Stillwell, Kansas, treasurer; and Pamela Mitchell, Metairie, Louisiana, immediate past president

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Dr. Matt Krecic

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

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Dr. Tim Smaha

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Society for Theriogenology

Event

Annual conference, July 21-24, Omaha, Nebraska

Program

The plenary sessions were “History of the ACT: Celebrating 50 Years” by Dr. John Kastelic, Alberta, and “Surrogate Sires: A Next Generation Breeding Tool in Livestock Production” by Dr. Jon Oatley, Pullman, Washington, both sponsored by the American College of Theriogenologists. Forty-one scientific abstracts, 12 poster presentations, and eight case reports were presented at the conference. One research presentation and nine case presentations by veterinary students were also provided during the student session at the conference.

Awards

David E. Bartlett Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Donald Schlafer (Cornell ’74), Alpine, New York. Prior to retirement, Dr. Schlafer was a professor of veterinary pathology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, where his work in veterinary pathology and research in reproductive pathology centered on placental disorders and diseases. He is a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, American College of Veterinary Pathologists, and American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. Dr. Schlafer has served as treasurer of the ACT and as a member of the ACT Examination Committee.

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Dr. Donald Schlafer

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Dr. John Steiner Award for Excellence in Practice

Dr. Mike Thompson (Mississippi State ’87), Holly Springs, Mississippi. Dr. Thompson owns Willow Bend Animal Clinic in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He previously practiced in Ripley, Tennessee, and in Mississippi at Tupelo and Guntown. A diplomate of the ACT, he is a past president of the SFT and has served as president of the Theriogenology Foundation since 2020.

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Dr. Mike Thompson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Dr. Jerry Rains Memorial Abstract Competition,

sponsored by Merck Animal Health

First place ($1,000)—Dr. Viviane C. L. Gomes, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for “The effects of kisspeptin-10 on equine chorionic girdle trophoblast cell in vitro migration”; second place ($750)—Dr. Julia Zuercher, Mooresville, North Carolina, for “Comparing serum progesterone measurements by a point-of-care analyzer with a chemiluminescent immunoassay in breeding management of the bitch”; third place ($500)—Grace Edwards, Athens, Georgia, for “Laser ablation of the equine oviductal papilla as a novel contraceptive technique”; and fourth place ($250)—Dr. Christian Bisiau, Fort Collins, Colorado, for “Comparison of nanoparticles and single-layer centrifugation for separation of dead from live stallion spermatozoa”

Veterinary Student Case Presentation Competition,

sponsored by Bovine Services

First place ($650)—Camille Ogdon, St. George's University, for “Vulvar discharge associated with exogenous estrogen exposure in a spayed Weimaraner bitch”; second place, tie ($487.50)—Rachel Doenges, Mississippi State University, for “Phimosis and preputial abscessation with draining tract in an Angus bull”; second place, tie ($487.50)—Vaiva Palunas, Washington State University, for “Recurrent uterine torsion in an Arabian mare”; fourth place ($375)—Hannah Neer, University of California-Davis, for “Spermatic cord torsion in an Arabian stallion”; fifth place ($300)—Taylor Lashlee, University of Tennessee, for “Electroejaculation and breeding soundness exam on a clouded leopard”; and sixth place ($200)—Jordan Farrell, Auburn University, for “Abnormal mobility in neonatal Labrador Retrievers”

Business

The society is continuing to work on strengthening its journal, Clinical Theriogenology, on the basis of input and contributions from the membership. Efforts are underway to develop standards for frozen semen across multiple species, and the society is continuing to develop additional platforms for access to educational content. The Theriogenology Foundation, with support from the society and the ACT, announced the Nandi Scholarship program for veterinary students and awarded $10,000 scholarships to the first four recipients at the conference.

Officials

Drs. Ahmed Tibary, Pullman, Washington, president; Dan Tracy, Auburn, Kentucky, president-elect; William Whitler, Corvallis, Oregon, vice president; Jack Smith, Starkville, Mississippi, immediate past president; and board members—Drs. Marthina Greer, Lomira, Wisconsin; Michelle Kutzler, Philomath, Oregon; and Clare Scully, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Dr. Ahmed Tibary

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

American College of Theriogenologists

Event

Annual meeting, July 21-24, Omaha, Nebraska

AWARDS

Theriogenologist of the Year

Dr. Gary Althouse (Iowa State ‘94), New London, Pennsylvania. Dr. Althouse is a professor of reproduction and swine health, chair in animal reproduction, and associate dean of sustainable agriculture and veterinary practices at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also the founder and director of Penn Vet's Reference Andrology Laboratory, which provides critical research and clinical services in food animal production. A diplomate of the ACT, Dr. Althouse is a past president of the college and the Society for Theriogenology.

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Dr. Gary Althouse

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Business

The college celebrated its 50th anniversary and recognized charter diplomates and diplomates from the first 10 years, welcoming Dr. William Brown, Delta, Colorado, the only charter diplomate in attendance. Dr. John Kastelic, Calgary, Alberta, a former president of the college, gave a plenary presentation on the history of the ACT and SFT. The college expressed support for the Theriogenology Foundation's work in offering Nandi Scholarships to outstanding veterinary students and in continuing to offer residencies in companion animal theriogenology in collaboration with the American Kennel Club and AKC Canine Health Foundation.

New diplomate

Jennine Lection, University Park, Pennsylvania

Officials

Drs. John Dascanio, Amarillo, Texas, president; Sherrie Clark-Deener, Blacksburg, Virginia, president-elect; Leonardo Brito, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, vice president; Kara Kolster, Glen Allen, Virginia, secretary; Cheryl Lopate, Aurora, Oregon, treasurer; Dirk Vanderwall, Logan, Utah, immediate past president; and director—Dr. Aime Johnson, Auburn, Alabama

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Dr. John Dascanio

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

American College of veterinary clinical pharmacology

The American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology welcomed four new diplomates following the board certification examination it held virtually on July 2. The new diplomates are as follows:

Jonathan Hare, Port Perry, Ontario

Michael D. Kleinhenz, Manhattan, Kansas

Nora Schrag, Manhattan, Kansas

Kamoltip Thungrat, Auburn, Alabama

American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine

Event

Virtual annual meeting, July 31

Awards

Helwig-Jennings Award

Dr. Thomas Doker (Georgia ’90), Aiken, South Carolina, for outstanding and prolonged service to the ACVPM. A public health officer with the Air Force, Dr. Doker serves as the public health flight commander at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. He is a diplomate of the ACVPM, serving a third term as secretary-treasurer of the college.

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Dr. Thomas Doker

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Distinguished Diplomate Award

Dr. Alice Chapman (North Carolina State ’91), Phoenix, for significant contributions to the specialty of veterinary preventive medicine. Dr. Chapman is director of the Master of Public Health program at Midwestern University, where she also serves as an assistant professor of public health and epidemiology. She is a diplomate of the ACVPM.

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Dr. Alice Chapman

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Frank A. Todd President's Award

Dr. Greg Habing (Illinois ’04), Columbus, Ohio, for meritorious service to the ACVPM. Dr. Habing is an associate professor of veterinary preventive medicine at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. A diplomate of the ACVPM, his research focuses on antimicrobial stewardship and livestock infectious diseases. Dr. Habing is immediate past chair of the ACVPM Examinations Committee.

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Dr. Greg Habing

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

New Diplomates

Josephine Afema, Kasese, Uganda

Tammy S. Anderson, Fort Pierre, South Carolina

Henry Annandale, Perth, Australia

Laura H. Backus, Davis, California

Sarah J. Bailey, Bismark, North Dakota

Tessa Baker, Calgary, Alberta

Lauren Bernstein, Minneapolis

Caitlyn Best, Powell River, British Columbia

Daniel J. Bland, Kensington, Maryland

Margot M. Boucher, Fairbanks, Alaska

Auguste Brihn, Pasadena, California

Rebecca Campagna, Sacramento, California

Kimberly Carney, Harrogate, Tennessee

Andrew J. Chambers, San Antonio

Lindsay Chase, Otego, New York

Jenna Barber, Amarillo, Texas

Sunoh Che, Guelph, Ontario

Caitlin J. Cotter, Houston

Lisa M. Crevoiserat, Baumholder, Germany

Kelly L. DeBaene, Amsterdam

Jose Denis-Robichaud, Amqui, Quebec

Inaki Deza-Cruz, Guildford, England

Luci Dimick, Ferndale, Washington

Cynthia A. Fallness, Athens, Georgia

Brian Farr, Philadelphia

Heather Fenton, Basseterre, St. Kitts

Kelsey Fiddes, Rockville, Maryland

Sarah Fisher, Richardson, Texas

Kate Fodor, Southern Pines, North Carolina

Kimberly M. Fox, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Cassandra Framstad, Harker Heights, Texas

Elisha Frye, Ithaca, New York

James Gaffney, Pyeongtaek, South Korea

Ambre Gejer, Fort Collins, Colorado

Meaghan Glowacki, Fort Sam Houston, Texas

Graciela F. Guzman, Northglenn, Colorado

Daren C. Harrison, Dupont, Washington

Andrew Hennenfent, Clive, Iowa

Gabriel K. Innes, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Amanda Jeffries, Columbia, South Carolina

David Johnston, Copperas Cove, Texas

Jennifer Keaten, Bridgton, Maine

Hussein Ali Keshwani, Edmonton, Alberta

Kavishti A. Kokaram, Denair, California

Jennifer E. LeFors, Bethesda, Maryland

Douglas Lewis, Omaha, Nebraska

Jane M. Lewis, Winsted, Connecticut

Miles Looman-Nelson, Spanaway, Washington

Misty J. Looney, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland

Brianna M. Marion, Silver Spring, Maryland

Heather Martinez, Lakewood, Colorado

Maren Mason, Southern Pines, North Carolina

Phil S. Medlin, Chicago

Anna Munsey, Roanoke, Virginia

Janice S. O’Brien, Fort Hood, Texas

Tai Ogg, Trail Creek, Indiana

Kalie Amanda Pettit, Zumbrota, Minnesota

Ong-orn Prasarnphanich, Bangkok

Holly Richmond-Woods, Savannah, Georgia

Fran Rotondo, Guelph, Ontario

Jessica Sanchez, Davis, California

Jason Schewe, Emmons, Minnesota

Betsy A. Schroeder, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

David B. Sheedy, Tulare, California

Colleen Shockling Dent, Columbus, Ohio

Jennifer A. Sinatra, Los Angeles

Ryan Robert Sitton, Oro Valley, Arizona

Brandy R. Sobczak-Flickinger, Winterset, Iowa

Heather Sriranganathan, York, Pennsylvania

Sheena Tarrant, Olympia, Washington

Elise Tatone, Ottawa, Alberta

Daniel Taylor, Fort Collins, Colorado

Joanne Taylor, St. Paul, Minnesota

Michael Thompson, Burnsville, Minnesota

Danielle Tulloss, Olympia, Washington

Martha Weber, Columbia, South Carolina

Benjamin Wier, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

Caitlin Williams, Frauenberg, Germany

Cara Williams, Austell, Georgia

Aidan Wolfe, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Officials

Drs. Richard H. Hill, Ames, Iowa, president; Barbara Jones, Durham, New Hampshire, president-elect; Thomas Doker, Aiken, South Carolina, secretary-treasurer; Thomas Berg, Richland, Michigan, executive vice president; Danelle Bickett-Weddle, Ames, Iowa, immediate past president; Sean Altekruse, Bethesda, Maryland, Specialty of Epidemiology president; Donald Noah, Tazewell, Tennessee, AVMA Veterinary Specialty Organizations Committee representative; and councilors—Drs. Will Sander, Savoy, Illinois; Evan Shukan, Bethesda, Maryland; and Danielle Stanek, Tallahassee, Florida

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Dr. Richard H. Hill

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

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Dr. Sean Altekruse

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Obituaries

Alexander de Lahunta, veterinary neurologist, dies at 88

Dr. Alexander de Lahunta would tell you that his greatest accomplishment was teaching the introductory anatomy and embryology courses to first-year veterinary students at Cornell University, according to his obituary.

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Dr. Alexander de Lahunta (Courtesy of Cornell University)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 8; 10.2460/javma.259.8.809

Teaching the courses allowed him to get to know every student in the class, and they all came to know him as Dr. D. He took great pride in serving as a mentor to them, and many stayed in touch with him up until his last days.

Dr. de Lahunta, 88, of Rye, New Hampshire, died Aug. 17, 2021. Along with being dedicated to teaching, the professor was a pioneer in veterinary neurology.

A 1958 veterinary graduate of Cornell University, Dr. de Lahunta spent two years in mixed animal practice in Concord, New Hampshire, before returning to Cornell to earn his doctorate in anatomy in 1963.

The veterinary college then hired him as an assistant professor, according to the Cornell Chronicle. He went on to serve as chief of the medical and surgical section of the teaching hospital from 1975-76 and as hospital director from 1976-82. He also chaired the Department of Clinical Sciences from 1977-86 and the Department of Anatomy from 1986-91. He retired in 2005.

“The loss of our beloved Dr. D. is a heavy one, both for our community and for the veterinary profession,” said Dr. Lorin D. Warnick, dean of the veterinary college, to the Cornell Chronicle. “While we grieve his passing, we also celebrate the wisdom and influence he shared with the world.”

Dr. de Lahunta's contributions to the field of veterinary neurology include the discovery of many neurologic disorders in animals. He published five foundational textbooks and more than 260 peer-reviewed papers. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine gave him the Robert W. Kirk Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and the Lifetime Specialty Achievement Award in June (see ACVIM meeting report, page 828).

Dr. de Lahunta established the program in clinical neurology at Cornell's veterinary college and was in the original group of neurologists who established the neurology specialty of the ACVIM.

“Known to so many as Dr. D, he is best known as a teacher, mentor and guardian of neuroanatomy,” said Dr. Joan Coates, president of the neurology specialty, in an announcement about the Lifetime Specialty Achievement Award. “He is regarded by all of us in the neurology specialty of the ACVIM and the European College of Veterinary Neurology as the premier expert in neuroanatomy, clinical neurology and neuropathology.”

According to the Cornell Chronicle, Dr. de Lahunta's contributions as a teacher spanned veterinary anatomy, neuroanatomy, applied anatomy, clinical neurology, neuropathology, and embryology. His legendary 2 a.m. clinical examinations of his patients were often attended by students, interns, and residents. He won the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award four times and was recognized as the best teacher in basic sciences in 1991 by the Student AVMA.

Family was his passion, too, according to his obituary, and he enjoyed sharing his love of the outdoors with family members. Together they cycled, ran marathons, backpacked in the mountains, skied, and played pond hockey.

Dr. de Lahunta is survived by his partner, Shirley Reed Dutton; four children; and nine grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Rye Public Library, c/o Friends of the Rye Public Library, 581 Washington Road, Rye, NH 03870.

AVMA MEMBER | AVMA HONOR ROLL MEMBER | NONMEMBER

Henry E. Akers

Dr. Akers (Ohio State ’59), 86, Mansfield, Ohio, died April 28, 2021. Following graduation, he began working in Mansfield, where he eventually established a mixed animal practice. During his career of more than 60 years, Dr. Akers also volunteered as the veterinarian for the Richland County Fair for over two decades. A member of the Ohio VMA, he was a past chair of the OVMA Outreach Committee. He served on The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Admissions Committee. In 1982, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Alumni Society honored Dr. Akers with the Alumni Service Award. In 1986, he received an OVMA Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Akers led mission trips to Haiti, Kenya, and South Dakota. His wife, Mary Elizabeth; two daughters and a son; three grandchildren; and a brother survive him.

Alan G. Bosomworth

Dr. Bosomworth (Kansas State ’79), 76, White City, Kansas, died Aug. 2, 2021. Following graduation, he spent a brief period in private practice before joining the Nevada Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Industry. During his tenure with the NDA, Dr. Bosomworth served as a supervisor of the state's animal disease laboratories and was state veterinarian from 1995-98. He retired in 2002. Dr. Bosomworth is survived by his wife, Debbie; a daughter, a son, and two stepchildren; and four grandchildren.

Harold D. Crocker

Dr. Crocker (Ohio State ’61), 83, Galena, Ohio, died April 14, 2021. He owned Northland Veterinary Clinic, a small animal practice in Columbus, Ohio, prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Crocker taught and conducted cardiac research at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and established what was known as the Consolidated Biomedical Laboratory. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; a daughter; five grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation Ohio, 2800 Corporate Exchange Drive, #360, Columbus, OH 43231.

James C. Donham

Dr. Donham (Ohio State ’52), 95, Columbus, Ohio, died June 20, 2021. Following graduation, he was in private practice in Garrett, Indiana, for two years. Dr. Donham then joined the veterinary faculty at The Ohio State University, retiring as a professor emeritus in 1989. He was a member of the Ohio VMA. In 1999, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Alumni Society honored him with an Alumni Recognition Award. Dr. Donham served in the Navy from 1943-46. His wife, Jo; two daughters and two sons; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren survive him.

Lisa M. Fredericks

Dr. Fredericks (Michigan State ’98), 48, Broomfield, Colorado, died April 10, 2021. She practiced small animal medicine at Broomfield Veterinary Hospital. An avid runner, Dr. Fredericks participated in several marathons and other races. Her parents and two sisters survive her. Memorials may be made to the Sacred Heart Academy Foundation, P.O. Box 522, Mount Pleasant, MI 48804, jav.ma/SacredHeart.

Ellis M. Hall

Dr. Hall (Tuskegee ’56), 91, Tuskegee, Alabama, died Aug. 4, 2021. A diplomate and a past president of the American College of Veterinary Radiology, he served on the veterinary faculty of Tuskegee University for more than 44 years, retiring as a professor emeritus. During his tenure, Dr. Hall taught radiology and surgery, served as director of the veterinary teaching hospital, and directed veterinary admissions. He also initiated Grand Rounds, a seminar course designed for students in their fourth year to present clinical cases to students in the first through fourth years of the veterinary curriculum.

Dr. Hall was known for his efforts to recruit students from the Lumbee tribe of Native Americans at the former Pembroke State University to attend Tuskegee University's veterinary college and was honored as the Father of the Lumbee Veterinarians. An endowed scholarship was established at Tuskegee University to honor his vision of increasing diverse representation of veterinary clinicians. In 2003, Dr. Hall and his wife, Lillie, were recognized as Tuskegee University Parents of the Year.

Active in his community, he was a past chair of the Mason County Board of Education, was a member of the Tuskegee Chamber of Commerce, and was active with the Tukabatchee Area Council Boy Scouts of America, receiving the Silver Beaver and Whitney M. Young scouting awards. Dr. Hall served on the board of directors of the Atlanta Zoo, Alabama 4-H Foundation, and Macon County Community Development Corp.

He is survived by his wife, three daughters, three sons, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. A son, Dr. Paul B. Hall (Tuskegee ’98), and his wife, Dr. Nancy Betancourt (Tuskegee ’98), are also veterinarians. Memorials may be made to the Dr. Ellis M. Hall Scholarship for Native Americans, Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, Attn: Dr. Ruby Perry, 301 Patterson Hall, Tuskegee Institute, AL 36088.

Lloyd C. Helper

Dr. Helper (Illinois ’55), 92, Fort Collins, Colorado, died July 18, 2021. A charter diplomate and a past president of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, he was a professor emeritus and a past associate dean of academic and student affairs at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Following graduation, Dr. Helper joined the veterinary faculty of the University of Illinois as an instructor. From 1956-58, he served in the Air Force Veterinary Corps, later attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

Following his military service, Dr. Helper rejoined the faculty at the veterinary college, where he earned a master's in clinical medicine and became a professor. In the mid 1960s, he developed an interest in veterinary ophthalmology, completing a postdoctoral fellowship in comparative ophthalmic pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Helper went on to establish the ophthalmology service at the Illinois veterinary college, serving as its chief until 1982, when he was named associate dean of academic and student affairs. He retired in 1993.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Helper served on the American Board of Veterinary Specialties from 1983-95. A past president of the Illinois State and Eastern Illinois VMAs, he also served as treasurer of the International Society of Veterinary Ophthalmology for 25 years and was named a founding honorary life member of the society. Known for his expertise in veterinary ophthalmology, Dr. Helper authored the fourth edition of the textbook “Magrane's Canine Ophthalmology.”

In 2002, he established the Dr. and Mrs. Lloyd Helper Veterinary Student and Faculty Collegiality Awards at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2014, the veterinary college honored Dr. Helper with the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Helper is survived by his wife, Jean; two sons and two daughters; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a brother and a sister. A son, Dr. David L. Helper (Illinois ’83), and a daughter, Dr. Patricia L. Helper (Illinois ’84), are also veterinarians. Memorials may be made to the Dr. and Mrs. Lloyd Helper Veterinary Student and Faculty Collegiality Award Fund, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, IL 61802, jav.ma/LloydHelper.

Myron N. Jorgensen Jr.

Dr. Jorgensen (Kansas State ’64), 85, San Jose, California, died Feb. 3, 2021. Following graduation, he served two years in the Army Veterinary Corps, attaining the rank of captain. Dr. Jorgensen subsequently practiced small animal medicine for 45 years at Milpitas Animal Hospital in Milpitas, California. His wife, Helen; four children; nine grandchildren; and a sister survive him.

Randall D. Murray

Dr. Murray (Minnesota ’85), 62, Bemidji, Minnesota, died April 30, 2021. Following graduation, he worked in Blackduck, Minnesota, where he took ownership of the Blackduck Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Murray later established Friendly Veterinary Clinic in Bemidji, with a special interest in holistic medicine. His two children, two grandchildren, his mother, and three siblings survive him. Memorials may be made to Great River Rescue, 1612 Carr Lake Road SE, Bemidji, MN 56601.

Keith W. Powell

Dr. Powell (Auburn ’66), 78, Loudon, Tennessee, died Feb. 20, 2021. He owned Powell Animal Clinic, a small animal practice in Hollywood, Florida, for 34 years. Dr. Powell served as a captain in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. His wife, Justine; a daughter and a son; three grandchildren; and a sister survive him.

Steven M. Stiefel

Dr. Stiefel (Kansas State ’79), 74, Frederick, Maryland, died Feb. 25, 2021. Following graduation, he worked briefly with his father, Dr. Melvin Stiefel (Kansas State ’45), at Colorado Avenue Veterinary Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dr. Stiefel subsequently practiced small animal medicine in Wichita, Kansas, before joining the Army Veterinary Corps.

During his military career, he worked at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, also covering Frances E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah; attended the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., and was assigned to the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland; and served as a veterinary pathologist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. Dr. Stiefel culminated his service as chief of comparative pathology at AFRRI prior to retirement from the military.

In 1998, he joined Anmed Biosafe/Taconic Farms in Gaithersburg, Maryland, serving as a senior scientist of pathology until retirement in 2013. Dr. Stiefel is survived by his wife, Joyce; a son; his mother; and a sister and a brother.

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