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AVMA provides new resources on curbside care, telehealth

The AVMA has developed a flyer on “Making Curbside Care Efficient” and is offering a webinar titled “Telehealth: Real-World Use of AVMA’s Guidelines.”

Some veterinary practices have decided curbside care is working so well for them that they plan to continue offering it as a regular service moving past the COVID-19 pandemic. The new flyer, available at jav.ma/curbside, compiles tips from practices that are using telehealth to make curbside care more efficient. The flyer also includes a sample workflow that shows what curbside care might look like in a practice when used in tandem with telehealth.

The AVMA developed the flyer in collaboration with Anipanion, which provides veterinary telehealth services.

The on-demand webinar on the AVMA’s telehealth guidelines gives an overview of the laws and regulations pertaining to the delivery of veterinary telehealth services, examines potential uses of telehealth, and discusses how to monetize telehealth visits.

Presenting the webinar is Dr. Lori Teller, AVMA president-elect and clinical associate professor of telehealth at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The webinar, available on AVMA Axon at jav.ma/realworld, offers one hour of continuing education credit and is free for AVMA and Student AVMA members. The cost is $25 for nonmembers.

Generic antimicrobial approved by FDA

Federal drug officials approved a generic version of an antimicrobial used to treat infections in cats and dogs.

On Aug. 18, Food and Drug Administration officials approved a generic version of Zoetis’ Clavamox, which contains amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium for oral suspension. Cronus Pharma Specialties India Private Ltd. received the approval for the generic version.

The drug is used to treat skin, soft tissue, and periodontal bacterial infections in dogs as well as skin, soft tissue, and urinary tract bacterial infections in cats, FDA information states. Amoxicillin trihydrate kills a variety of bacteria, and clavulanic acid broadens the drug’s activity by inhibiting beta-lactamase enzymes that can destroy the amoxicillin, agency information states.

Veterinary hospital company offers $100k signing bonuses

The CareVet veterinary hospital network has been advertising bonuses ranging from $60,000 to $100,000 to veterinarians who join the company in one of 27 locations.

The company offered the bonuses for veterinarians who joined the company through the end of October and has been considering expanding the sign-on bonus program as a long-term incentive, according to an announcement and company spokesperson Emma Ehll. The company is requiring three-year contracts to receive the bonuses.

At press time, CareVet was offering the $100,000 bonuses for two positions in Northwest Indiana and bonuses of $60,000 or $90,000 for positions in another 25 locations, according to company information. At least two positions in the bonus program have been filled since the original announcement, which described openings in 19 states.

In the announcement, CareVet CEO Greg Siwak said his company strives to lead the veterinary industry and improve standards for animal health professionals.

“Fair compensation, opportunities for development, and sharing in our successes are all a part of that,” he said.

infections in cats, FDA information states. Amoxicillin trihydrate kills a variety of bacteria, and clavulanic acid broadens the drug's activity by inhibiting beta–lactamase enzymes that can destroy the amoxicillin, agency information states.

Education, communication are important strategies to prevent suicide among veterinarians

Suicide Prevention Roundtable promotes mental health treatment, best practices around how to discuss suicide

By Malinda Larkin


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

Suicide is an issue affecting the veterinary profession, but not to the extent that it’s been made out to be, according to experts. More importantly, suicide is preventable. That there is hope for survivors—nine in 10 go on to live after an attempt—also doesn’t get discussed as much.

The general inaccurate discourse focusing on suicide in the veterinary community as an epidemic serves only to trigger vulnerable individuals and diminish the effective ways to combat it, according to the experts.

A few of those individuals spoke at the first Suicide Prevention Roundtable convened by the AVMA, American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Jen Brandt, PhD, AVMA director of well-being, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, said the Sept. 14 meeting was called because of the need to address the ongoing proliferation of misinformation and the harm it causes and to instill hope that things can and do get better.

“It may not be easy, and you might not feel better overnight, so it’s important we consistently convey that with appropriate support, the sense of hopelessness—and thoughts of suicide—do lift,” she said. “Suicide is not an inevitable outcome of someone experiencing pain or crisis in their life. Nor is one’s choice of occupation the root cause of suicide.”

Held with more than two dozen stakeholders, the roundtable aimed to change the prevailing narrative with evidence-based strategies for suicide prevention and effective communication on the topic.

Evidence indicates that addressing the stigma against seeking help and removing barriers to accessing mental health treatment are key ways to help those considering suicide and that talking about suicide publicly can help when done in a mindful and informed way.

Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA CEO, said addressing how the veterinary profession talks about suicide is a matter of public safety. She said, “We are a caring, giving community … and we will continue to work together to use evidenced-based prevention and communication in this area.”

Multifaceted issue

Christine Yu Moutier, MD, is chief medical officer of the AFSP, the largest nonprofit that is fighting suicide, with chapters in all 50 states and a stated mission to “save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”

“When I hear things like physicians or veterinarians have the highest rate of suicide in the world, those are not true statements,” she said during the roundtable. “It is true we have higher rates than the general population, though there are many industries whose rates are higher.”

According to a 2020 report in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the industries with the highest rates of suicide in 2016 were the combined agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry, with a rate of 36.1 per 100,000 for men (the rate for women was not calculated because the number of cases was less than 20); mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, with a rate of 54.2 per 100,000 for men (also with under 20 cases for women); and construction, with a rate of 45.3 per 100,000 for men and 9.4 per 100,000 for women. Health professions, including veterinary medicine, were 15th on that list.

Doreen Marshall, PhD, who oversees the AFSP’s Prevention and Education Program and Loss and Healing Program, pointed out during the roundtable that suicide is rare enough that it’s calculated by a rate of suicides per 100,000 individuals.

“Saying suicide is an epidemic is saying it’s more of a problem than it is and that there is nothing you can do about it when we actually can,” Dr. Marshall said.

She pointed to a study by Tracy K. Witte, PhD, and others published in JAVMA in 2019 (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2019:255;595-608), which found that 40% of suicides by veterinarians were by poisoning, “which says to me there are preventive strategies to think through for lethal means.” The two most commonly identified substances were pentobarbital or opioids.

Dr. Moutier, the AFSP chief medical officer, said every industry that her organization works with has its own cultural factors, and occupation is just one potential layer of influence in terms of attitudes and behavior in managing mental health. Many other factors also play a role, including family history of suicide, genes, and prior trauma or adverse childhood experiences, which are largely invisible to others. Suicidal behavior, she said, is never a one-cause phenomenon.

“That’s hard for us because if you’ve experienced loss from suicide or attempted suicide, you want to find a way to understand it,” she said.

In fact, a lot of suicide risk doesn’t even come to the conscious level, she said. Psychological autopsies, in which trained investigators glean data from interviews, records, and other sources, can uncover more than a dozen factors not often visible to others.

“Suicide behavior requires a cognitive process,” Dr. Moutier said. “That’s what has confused the world for so long. Those decisions are made by a brain that, at that moment, is a distressed brain.”

Myths and misconceptions

Although there is frequently incorrect speculation that suicide has a singular cause, such as a poor online review or a challenging encounter with a client, the most common risk factor for suicide is unaddressed mental health conditions or stress.

For health professionals, Dr. Moutier said, some of their personality traits can become liabilities, such as the need for control and achievement, exaggerated sense of responsibility, and difficulty taking time for oneself or asking for help.

According to the 2020 Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study, 57% of surveyed veterinarians agreed with the statement “Veterinarians are caring toward those with mental illness,” compared with 24% in the 2018 study. Yet, in the 2020 study, 52% of distressed veterinarians who needed mental health treatment or therapy in the past 12 months said they didn’t get it.

“There’s stigma on a cultural level and then stigma among those suffering,” Dr. Moutier said. “You have to remember, if you’re sick, if you don’t feel like yourself, you feel frightened and vulnerable. Your brain plays tricks on you. That internal layer of dialogue is something we have to go out of our way to overcome,” and people are not great at calibrating their own level of distress.

One common misconception is that if someone has been diagnosed with clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or some other mental health issue, their work must be impaired.

For the vast majority of those who manage a mental health condition and more proactively address it, Dr. Moutier said, it will likely never affect their work. She said: “You want to optimize your clarity of mind and functioning. That’s what therapy can do.”

Lizzie Lockett is chief executive of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the United Kingdom and director of Mind Matters, a U.K. initiative that seeks to increase the accessibility and acceptance of support for mental health issues. She was interested by the idea that medical professionals are not great at help-seeking behavior.

“There’s a linkage between mental and physical health, and it’s interesting how much easier it is to talk about physical health and not mental health. One can be supported with the other,” she said during the roundtable. “We always make sure animals have good physical health and behave in way that is natural to them, but that doesn’t always happen with veterinarians themselves. We can’t care for other people until we sort ourselves out.”

Suicide prevention

Suicide prevention requires both individuals and organizations to play a role, according to the experts. The CDC has come up with the following recommendations:

  • Strengthen economic supports.

  • Strengthen access to and delivery of mental health and suicide care.

  • Create protective environments, such as by reducing access to lethal means.

  • Promote connectedness.

  • Teach coping and problem-solving skills.

  • Identify and support people at risk.

  • Lessen harms of suicide and prevent future risk.

Practices to promote well-being and resilience need to be cultivated at all stages of a career, from student to retiree, and are a shared responsibility, Dr. Moutier said.

“A healthy professional culture will lead to improved health care for all providers and patients,” she said. “It’s having an environment that feels safe and supportive at baseline and continuously reminds people that we’re stronger together and we can connect with one another and that mental health is real and the support and resources are available.”

For people at risk of suicide, the first step is to acknowledge the risk so they can take action for themselves, Dr. Moutier said, which is why it is important to reach out to others when they do show signs of risk. A common myth is that just because someone is thinking about suicide means the person is at risk of dying of suicide.

“You will not make someone suicidal by asking about it,” Dr. Moutier said. But there are ways of handling the conversation better than others. Let the person talk, and ask opened-ended questions. If the person has a tone that seems hopeless, you can say, “When you say X, I wonder if you’ve had thoughts about ending your life,” and let the person take it from there. Or you can call a suicide lifeline to get advice or help for the person.

Dr. Moutier said that ideally a workplace would have a team of people, who represent various levels in the institution, committed to coming together around this topic, whether in the aftermath of a suicide or working to prevent one.

“It takes time and energy but will not only address things in the moment, but also next steps moving forward,” she said.

Public messaging

The language used when talking about suicide is important, said Dr. Marshall of the AFSP. Discussion can occur in many places, from social media and podcasts to blogs and news stories to email.

“The public messages about suicide can impact those who are grieving, those with lived experience, and those who are vulnerable,” she said. “Unsafe messaging can increase risk of contagion among vulnerable individuals.”

For example, the term “suicide attempt” is acceptable but not “failed attempt” or “unsuccessful attempt” because those terms attach judgment to the attempt. And it is acceptable to use the term “died by suicide” but not to use the terms “committed suicide” or “successful suicide” for the same reason, with “committed suicide” sounding similar to “committed a crime.” Or don’t say “veterinary suicide,” but “suicide in the veterinary profession,” because there are reasons for someone to die by suicide that may in fact have nothing to do with their work.

Also avoid the following:

  • Having repeated, prominent, or sensational coverage.

  • Portraying suicide as a common or acceptable response to adversity; avoid glamorizing suicide.

  • Presenting simple explanations for suicide or citing a singular cause on the basis of limited information.

  • Including personal details that encourage identification with the person who died, such as the method and location, because these details can resolve ambivalence in people who are distressed.

“Your message won’t cause suicide, but if you can imagine someone who is struggling, who is ambivalent about taking their life, and if they get messages that help them resolve that ambivalence,” Dr. Marshall said. “We want messages that help them resolve in a positive way and not toward ending their life.”

Helpful suicide messaging should also have some positive or hopeful narrative along with a call to action for help-seeking, either by sharing a lifeline number such as 1-800-273-TALK or a website such as suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The information should be factual and grounded in research on suicide prevention.

“Don’t speculate on stressors or risk factors except to highlight that suicide is complex and we can’t know who ends their life and for what reasons,” Dr. Marshall said.

By positive messaging, Dr. Marshall means information about actions that people can take to help prevent suicide, how prevention works, that resilience and recovery is possible, and that effective programs and services exist.

Dr. Brandt of the AVMA said, “We know suicide is preventable, and evidence-based resources provide vital guidance into how we can help the profession by minimizing the risk of suicide contagion and maximizing our collective impact.”

Language matters when discussing issues of suicide. For example, Jen Brandt, PhD, AVMA director of well-being, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, would say, “I’m working with someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts,” rather than, “I’m dealing with someone in a suicidal crisis.”

Say this Instead of this
Died of suicide Committed suicide
Suicide death Successful attempt
Suicide attempt Unsuccessful attempt
Person living with suicidal thoughts or behavior Suicide ideator or attempter
Suicide Completed suicide
(Describe the behavior) Manipulative, cry for help, or suicidal gesture
Working with Dealing with suicidal crisis

Source: Sally Spencer-Thomas, PsyD

AVMA resources on suicide prevention

The AVMA provides a broad array of well-being and suicide prevention resources for free to the veterinary profession at avma.org/wellbeing. They include the following:

  • Training in suicide prevention—This training is available at no cost to all veterinary professionals and can help save lives. The training is conducted entirely online and takes only about an hour.

  • Professional Quality of Life assessment—The ProQOL assessment is a widely validated, self-administered assessment tool that can be used as a guide to assess your balance of positive and negative personal and work-related experiences.

  • Post-suicide toolkit for veterinary workplaces—This toolkit provides veterinary workplaces with the resources needed to respond immediately in the wake of an employee’s suicide death, help the community begin to heal, and return to their primary mission of caring for their patients and community. A similar toolkit is available for veterinary colleges. Both toolkits provide details on how to communicate more effectively, factually, and safely about the topic of suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers more information at afsp.org/veterinarians and afsp.org/suicideloss. The latter page offers listings of support groups and resources for International Survivor of Suicide Loss Day, taking place Nov. 20.

The Emotional PPE Project, referring to personal protective equipment, connects health professionals in fields impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to free mental health treatment at emotionalppe.org.

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention provides its Framework for Successful Messaging at suicidepreventionmessaging.org.

Don’t let cybercriminals hack your practice

Feds see alarming increase in data breaches among businesses

By R. Scott Nolen

It was late Friday afternoon when Debbie Hill got a call from the information technology specialist for Animal Hospital of Pensacola, the Florida small animal and exotics practice where Hill is the hospital administrator.

The IT specialist had bad news. “We had been hacked with ransomware,” Hill recalled. “Every computer in the building had gone black screen with a message, ‘Click here to recover.’”

The hospital was locked out of its practice management software and all of its data—patient records, appointments, invoices. For an undisclosed sum of money, the hacker would unlock the information.

Ransomware is malicious software designed to infect a computer and give hackers access to sensitive information. Once downloaded, ransomware encrypts a computer’s data, rendering it unusable until a ransom is paid to the hacker, often in cryptocurrency such as bitcoin.

On the advice of the IT specialist, Hill neither paid the ransom nor communicated with the hacker but resolved the problem internally instead. Fortunately, the hospital’s data had been backed up on a secondary server installed for such emergencies.

The breach was traced to an email opened by a veterinary student using one of the hospital’s computers.

“We’re a sharp practice,” Hall said. “We had good virus software and firewalls in place, but cyberattackers are inventive.”

Hack Attack

Cyberattacks like the one against Animal Hospital of Pensacola are increasingly common.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received a record 791,790 complaints of cybercrime in 2020, a 69% increase from the previous year, with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion.

The frequency of ransomware incidents also continues to rise. Between Jan. 1 and July 31, the FBI had received just over 2,000 ransomware complaints, with more than $16.8 million in losses, marking a 62% increase in complaints and a 20% increase in reported losses compared to the same period in 2020.

Just this past summer, the world’s largest beef producer, JBS, suspended nearly a quarter of its U.S. operations for two days after a ransomware attack from a cybercriminal gang calling itself REvil.

The largest reported ransomware attack on the veterinary industry targeted National Veterinary Associates in 2019, when operations at hundreds of NVA clinics were disrupted for several days.

But it’s a mistake to think cybercriminals are interested only in targets with deep pockets.

“Anybody can be a victim,” said Tom Millar, a senior adviser for the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Millar noted that the Biden administration has made combating cyberattacks a national security priority.

“Unfortunately, it appears likely that ransomware gangs are going to proliferate, but this administration is fully committed to using every resource we have and all the resources of our agency partners to tackle this problem right now,” Millar said.

Millar recommended a regimen of “cyber hygiene” to reduce the chances of being a victim of online crime. This requires keeping computer systems up to date, backing up data offline, and avoiding simple authentication codes to access data. Also, staff members should practice cybersecurity awareness and understand the schemes hackers use to access systems.

If a business finds itself held hostage by ransomware, Millar advises against paying the ransom.

“If a victim pays, the bad guys will keep doing it,” he said. “And in some cases, they come back to the same targets because they’ve already proven that they’ll pay.”

For CISA resources on protecting your business from cyberattacks, visit jav.ma/CISA.


A veterinary hospital that has been hacked may be liable for failing to safeguard sensitive client information, such as credit card numbers. There’s also the related damage to the hospital’s reputation, which may drive clients away.

The AVMA PLIT, the AVMA’s professional liability insurance trust, is helping prepare practice owners for such an emergency by offering insurance for data breaches. Coverage includes legal and forensic services, public relations and crisis management, notification expenses, and defense and liability expenses.

Policyholders will also have access to risk management resources to minimize the chance of a data breach.

Additionally, the AVMA offers resources to help practice owners protect their business from cybercrimes and respond to a malware attack. Those resources are available at jav.ma/cyber.

Actions to protect against ransomware

  • Make an offline backup of your data.

  • Do not click on suspicious links.

  • If you use remote desktop protocol, secure and monitor it.

  • Update your operating system and software.

  • Use strong passwords.

  • Use multifactor authentication.

Source: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

African swine fever confirmed in Haiti

By Greg Cima

Animal health officials confirmed a devastating disease of swine has spread into Haiti.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced in September that African swine fever had been detected in an outbreak in Haiti near the border with the Dominican Republic, which department officials found unsurprising considering the outbreaks this year in the Dominican Republic. The countries comprise Hispaniola, the most populous island in the West Indies.

The USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories identified the infection through a cooperative testing program, and Haiti’s chief veterinary officer reported the results to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). USDA officials also had initially confirmed the presence of the ASF virus this July in the Dominican Republic, and subsequent investigation indicated pigs in that country had been infected since at least April.

The report filed with the OIE indicates the outbreak in Haiti began in late August and killed 234 swine. Officials in Haiti indicated their immediate response had included surveillance and quarantines, and they planned further responses, including restrictions on transportation of swine within the country, destruction of animal products, and swine depopulation.

Haiti’s agriculture ministry announced on Aug. 9—prior to the detection of ASF in the country—that agency officials had been preparing for the incursion of ASF. The country has about 800,000 pigs and had been free of ASF since 1978.

ASF is a highly contagious and deadly hemorrhagic disease of domestic and wild pigs, capable of killing entire herds. Viable virus can spread through live animals, carcasses, pork products, contaminated feed, and fomites, OIE information states.

Signs of infection can include sudden deaths with few clinical signs, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, listlessness, blue discoloration of skin, and reddened skin on the tips of the ears, tails, and feet, and ventral aspects of the chest and abdomen.

The OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are collaborating on a plan to control the disease, and a document published by the organizations states that ASF is a global threat, it has never been so widespread, and the national and regional challenges to control it will require long-term commitments.

The ASF virus has historically been found in sub-Saharan Africa, and the disease spread in the 1950s through 1980s to countries in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, according to the FAO.

In 2007, the virus rapidly spread among pigs in the Caucasus and Russia, and it since has spread to other countries in Europe and Asia. In 2018, it emerged in China, which is the world’s largest pork producer.

USDA officials responded to ASF’s emergence in Haiti with reassurances that pork and pork products from Haiti and the Dominican Republic were already barred from entering the U.S. because of restrictions related to the risk from classical swine fever. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service increased surveillance and safeguards in both countries after ASF was detected in the Dominican Republic, and agency officials are working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. swine industry to keep ASF from entering the U.S.

APHIS officials suspended movement of live swine, swine germplasm, swine products, and swine byproducts from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On Sept. 29, USDA officials announced plans to spend up to $500 million through APHIS to prevent the spread of ASF. That would involve investing in monitoring, surveillance, prevention, quarantine, and eradication activities, and the money is part of a $3 billion set of investments into agriculture, animal health, market stability, and school nutrition.

USDA officials also indicated they were seeking OIE recognition of an ASF protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they would add disease protections to keep ASF out of the U.S. mainland. Establishing an internationally recognized protection zone would allow the U.S. to maintain its disease-free status—and continue exporting pork and live swine—even if ASF is discovered within the protection zone.

Transatlantic task force sees progress, challenges in antimicrobial stewardship

By Greg Cima

An international group of health and drug authorities hopes in coming years to identify the data most useful for measuring progress on antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary medicine.

The group members also see potential benefits in working with nongovernmental veterinary organizations to encourage appropriate drug administration.

Those are among the upcoming goals identified in the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance’s 2016-20 progress report, available at jav.ma/tatfar. The report indicates TATFAR member governments have made progress toward goals of improving how antimicrobial drugs are used in human and animal medicine, but their concerns about antimicrobial resistance continue to escalate. Antimicrobials resistance is among the most serious global public health threats, the report states.

“Although AMR is not a new phenomenon, the current magnitude of the problem and the speed with which new resistance phenotypes and mechanisms have emerged and spread elevates its public health significance,” the report states.

The task force is a collaboration formed in 2009 of government entities from the U.S., Canada, the European Union, and Norway. In addition to improving how antimicrobials are used, the group has set long-term goals related to reducing drug-resistant infections and aiding development of new antimicrobial drugs.

The task force also published this fall an updated series of goals related to antimicrobial use in human and veterinary medicine. Examples include further promoting drug stewardship, collaborating on diagnostics, exchanging information on resistance trends and countermeasures, and providing consistent definitions for levels of resistance.

In the U.S., antimicrobial-resistant pathogens kill about 35,000 people each year and cause about 2.8 million infections in humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report, “Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019.” That report also describes some progress in preventing infections with drug-resistant pathogens, citing an 18% decline in deaths from antimicrobial-resistant infections since publication of a 2013 report.

The recent TATFAR progress report indicates the collaborators see opportunities within the next five years to raise awareness about the roles everyone has in combating antimicrobial resistance and the activities essential in that fight, such as improved animal husbandry practices, better biosecurity, vaccines, novel diagnostic tools, and antimicrobial stewardship.

“It is important to raise awareness and to work together with human healthcare providers, veterinarians, and the agriculture/aquaculture food sector,” the report states. “In the next work period, TATFAR will also expand collaboration in the environment. We still have much to learn about how human health and AMR are connected to the environment, and the multiple roles that water and soil may play in spreading AMR.”

The 2016-20 report notes some challenges, such as promoting drug stewardship principles and measuring antimicrobial consumption by animal species. But it also notes member countries, including the U.S., have added requirements to collect antimicrobial sales data, and some government agencies are collecting additional information related to drug use in animals.

The report notes among actions taken in the U.S. that the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials convened species groups to develop a definition and core principles of antimicrobial stewardship for veterinarians. AVMA leaders adopted the definition and principles as policy in January 2018.

Canada also collects data on antimicrobial administration on farms. Norway collects data on use in farmed fish and terrestrial animals. EU authorities have been developing guidance on collecting data on administration to animals. And the U.S. has been studying methods of collecting data on administration to farm animals, the report states.

The report notes efforts internationally to set standards and, in some cases, requirements for stewardship. And the report says that veterinary practitioners may be more receptive to lessons from their professional organizations than from government entities, so those organizations may have important roles in relaying information from government entities.

More information about how the AVMA is assisting veterinarians in their antimicrobial stewardship efforts is at avma.org/antimicrobials.

Studies ongoing into effects of SARS-CoV-2 variants on animals

By Greg Cima

The SARS-CoV-2 delta variant is more contagious among humans, and some data suggest it may cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people.

As that variant spread through the U.S., researchers continued work to understand the effects of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants on animals.

Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, said that many of the SARS-CoV-2 infections reported in dogs, cats, and captive animals in zoos and aquaria since July 2021 had been caused by the delta variant. CDC officials are among the federal authorities collaborating to understand the risk presented by the variant, she said.

The federal SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group’s work includes efforts to understand how SARS-CoV-2 and its variants spread between animals and between people and animals, and they are working to learn more about the effects of variants on animals, Dr. Barton Behravesh said. So far, most nonhuman animals with SARS-CoV-2 infections—regardless which variants are involved—had been exposed to infected people, she said.

As of Aug. 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported 221 nonfarm animals had confirmed infections with SARS-CoV-2, and those figures do not distinguish among variants of the virus. These animals were 97 cats, 86 dogs, 18 tigers, six lions, five snow leopards, five otters, three gorillas, and a cougar.

SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks on U.S. mink farms also have killed thousands of the animals since August 2020.

University-based researchers also are trying to understand which animals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.

Dr. Sarah Hamer, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has led research on SARS-CoV-2 in pets, and her team in March discovered a dog and a cat infected with what is now known as the alpha variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Her team was the first to announce the discovery of confirmed infections with the variant in both species.

The animals had developed sneezing prior to testing and appeared to recover to full health.

Dr. Hamer said in early September she expects the SARS-CoV-2 strains that infect humans will continue to spill over into animals.

Her team recently had been collecting samples for other projects, including research that could indicate whether feral cats spread SARS-CoV-2 among wild or feral animal populations. Because that study overlaps with the surge in the delta variant in humans, she said the study also may help address questions about the effects of that variant.

Dr. Hamer’s team also recently began collecting blood and swabs from deer in Texas to determine whether they have become exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and she hopes to have a mix of samples from wild and captive deer. She noted two prior studies in the U.S. in which researchers reported finding antibodies and viral RNA that suggest deer had been infected.

Dr. Sonia M. Hernandez, a professor of wildlife and wildlife diseases at the University of Georgia School of Forestry and Natural Resources, said during an Aug. 4 presentation for a CDC Zoonoses & One Health Updates conference call that results of a study she and colleagues conducted suggest skunks and raccoons were unlikely to be competent hosts for SARS-CoV-2. But she also noted in that call the study was conducted near the beginning of the pandemic, and she said more research was needed to understand how different SARS-CoV-2 strains may change the findings.

Dr. Barton Behravesh recommended that veterinarians monitor SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in their communities, keep up to date on information from the CDC, and ensure they and their staff are vaccinated. CDC officials also have previously recommended that people worried their pets could be infected with SARS-CoV-2 call ahead to their clinics to make appointments rather than arrive unannounced.

The AVMA has updated information about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and resources for veterinary professionals at avma.org/coronavirus

Report shows need for more pet-friendly domestic violence shelters

By Kaitlyn Mattson and Malinda Larkin

A new report’s findings indicate that fear for the welfare of pets is a barrier that keeps domestic violence survivors from leaving abusive situations. In addition, a relatively new federal grant program that provides funding to support shelter and transitional housing services for domestic violence survivors and their pets awarded funding to six organizations last year and will announce the 2021 recipients later this year.

Ninety-seven percent of domestic violence survivors report that keeping their pets is an important factor in deciding to seek shelter, according to the “PALS Report and Survey: Breaking Barriers to Safety and Healing” released this past May as part of the People and Animals Living Safely program of the Urban Resource Institute, a provider of domestic violence shelter services.

The Urban Resource Institute partnered with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to conduct the largest nationwide survey of domestic violence survivors focused on the impact of pets on survivors’ ability to leave a dangerous situation.


The “PALS Report and Survey: Breaking Barriers to Safety and Healing” released this past May focused on the impact of pets on domestic violence survivors’ ability to leave a dangerous situation.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

Half of the respondents wouldn’t consider seeking shelter for themselves without their pet. Yet, only 3% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S., or about 250 shelters, provide co-living options for survivors and their pets, according to the report.

Additionally, 48% of domestic violence survivors were worried that the abuser would harm or kill the pets; 37% reported that the abuser had already threatened to harm or kill pets; and 29% said pets had already been harmed or killed. And 76% of respondents reported noticeable changes in their pets’ behavior as a result of abuse.

The new federal Emergency Transitional Pet Shelter Housing and Assistance Grant Program is a part of the Pet and Women Safety Act that was included in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Zoe Agnew-Svoboda, director of pet advocacy at Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence emergency shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, and one of the 2020 grant recipients, said the shelter was already offering pet services but was able to expand the program with the new funding.

“With this funding, we were able to expand the number of pets we can house in our shelter,” Agnew-Svoboda said. “We also started providing outreach services such as boarding for survivors’ pets when they are fleeing but do not have access to shelter, financial assistance for veterinary services, and financial assistance for housing relocation for survivors with pets.”

The other awardees for 2020 are the following:

  • The Arizona Coalition To End Sexual and Domestic Violence in Phoenix.

  • Delaware Tribe of Indians in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

  • Unity House of Troy in Troy, New York.

  • The Safe Alliance in Austin, Texas.

  • The YWCA Nashville Domestic Violence Pet Shelter.

The deadline to apply for 2021 ended in June, and new awardees of $2.5 million in funding will be announced in November.

The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of organizations working to raise awareness about the grant program, consists of Nestle Purina PetCare, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, Noah’s Animal House, Pet Partners, the Urban Resource Institute, and RedRover.

Nicole Forsythe, president and CEO of RedRover, said the organization is thrilled to be a part of the coalition. RedRover helps domestic violence survivors seeking safety with their pets, among other programs.

“Funding is desperately needed to help more domestic violence shelters build pet-friendly spaces onsite,” Forsythe said in a press release. “Pets are often used as a manipulative tool by an abuser, and victims fear leaving if they can’t take their pets with them. Creating pet-friendly spaces at shelters is the solution to saving more lives.”

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation offers the National Veterinary Charitable Care Grant Program. The program allows AVMA members to apply for grants for charitable care cases related to domestic violence. Learn more at vcare.avmf.org.

Veterinary behaviorists: No role for aversive dog training practices

Reward-based dog training offers the most advantages and least harm to the learner’s welfare, according to the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior, which says there is no evidence that aversive practices are necessary for dog training or behavior modification.

The new AVSAB position statement published in September draws on the scientific evidence on dog training.

Aversive methods rely on punishment and negative reinforcement, wrote Zazie Todd, PhD, an expert on animal behavior, in a blog post about the new position statement. Reward-based methods involve positively reinforcing wanted behaviors and removing rewards for unwanted behaviors. They are also better at promoting the human-animal bond, according to the AVSAB statement.

Studies show that aversive methods can cause stress in dogs, which is why the statement says, “There is no role for aversive training in behavior modification plans.”

There are no exceptions to this standard, even for dogs with aggressive behaviors, according to the statement.

Dr. Todd writes that most common dog training issues can be resolved with positive reinforcement and management.

For more complex behavior issues, she writes, it may be necessary to add behavior modification, additional management, and sometimes medication.

The statement, available for download at jav.ma/AVSAB, includes answers to frequently asked questions, including how veterinarians should choose dog trainers for referrals and the role of veterinarians in behavioral care.

Pet store puppies remain a source of drug-resistant Campylobacter

Report suggests thousands of people likely sickened in decadelong problem

By Greg Cima

Pet store puppies remain a source of infections in humans with Campylobacter jejuni strains that are resistant to the recommended antimicrobial treatments.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously published reports on C jejuni outbreaks since 2016 that involved puppies at pet stores. A scientific article published in September 2021 identifies the outbreaks as part of an ongoing decadelong problem.

“Surveillance data indicate the extensively drug-resistant C jejuni strains have been circulating for at least 10 years and continue to cause illnesses among pet store customers, employees, and others who encounter pet store puppies,” the article states. “The extensively drug-resistant isolates are resistant to all recommended treatment agents.”

The article, published in JAMA Network Open, describes analysis of 168 Campylobacter infections that occurred from 2011-20 and had epidemiological or molecular links to pet store puppies. Among the patients who responded to questions, 97% reported contact with a dog in the week prior to symptoms; among those willing to provide additional information, 88% reported contact with a puppy from a pet store.

The article also suggests the true number of infections likely numbers in the thousands as the CDC estimates only one in 30 Campylobacter illnesses is identified, mainly because most people do not seek medical care.

Louise K. Francois Watkins, MD, is one of the article authors and a medical officer in the CDC’s Enteric Diseases Branch. She said that while the article describes cases tracked through February 2020—at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.—the CDC continues seeing new infections in humans with closely related strains. The number of confirmed cases has declined since the start of the pandemic, but she said this may reflect a decline in reported cases and people may be infected about as often as before.

She noted that overall pathogen report numbers have declined during the pandemic and cited possible contributing factors such as resource constraints in public health laboratories and increased reluctance by patients to see physicians in person, which reduces the number of stool samples provided.

A preliminary report published by CDC officials in the agency’s Sept. 24 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates the CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network identified 26% fewer infections overall in 2020 than the annual average for 2017-19 and a 23% decrease in confirmed Campylobacter infections. Public health interventions to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission—such as travel restrictions and restaurant closures—may have contributed to that decrease, as could changes in health care use and capacity of public health laboratories, the report states.

The article details the results of two investigations from 2016 to 2020, with confirmed infections in people and animals. The pathogen spread to a mix of pet store customers, employees, and other visitors. Many of the exposures occurred through a single pet store chain—identified in previous reports as Petland—but they were not limited to that chain, as people who became ill reported exposures to puppies at other retailers and dog breeders.

The investigators also were unable to identify a common source of infection among breeders, transporters, or stores.

“The commercial dog industry could implement measures to curb unnecessary antibiotic use and improve hygiene and infection control at all levels from breeding facility to pet store, similar to those taken by the food animal production industry under U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidance,” the article states. “Veterinary school curricula, continuing veterinary education focusing on antibiotic stewardship for veterinarians working with the commercial dog industry, and increased veterinary oversight within the industry may improve prescribing practices.”

Dr. Francois Watkins said her team had difficulty getting details on antimicrobial administration in the pet sales industry. But she expressed concerns that antimicrobial products may be administered to dogs as part of store protocols, rather than in consultation with veterinarians following evaluations.

Veterinarians in clinical practice also can counsel clients about, for example, safety measures to follow when cleaning up after a new pet. Diagnostic tests in at least some veterinary patients have helped identify the C jejuni strains in dogs, Dr. Francois Watkins said, and more testing could help identify links between infections in humans and animals.

Extensively drug-resistant bacteria present a one-health issue requiring collaboration across human and animal health disciplines, she said. She wants partners in the veterinary community to know these strains are circulating in animals and they may limit treatment options.

AVMA backs bill to require warning label on products containing xylitol

The AVMA in September announced its endorsement of the federal Paws Off Act (HR 5261), which would require products containing the sugar substitute xylitol to include a warning label specifying its toxic effects to dogs.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in everyday products and is frequently not listed on the ingredient label. Most often found in sugar-free gum and breath mints, xylitol may also be present in vitamins, cough drops, sugar-free desserts, mouthwash, toothpaste, and other household items.

Xylitol poisoning calls have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, according to the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Just over 200 xylitol-related calls were registered in 2005 compared with 6,760 in 2018.

U.S. Reps. David Schweikert, a Republican from Arizona, and Greg Stanton, a Democrat from Arizona, introduced the Paws Off Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 14.

“Despite the deadly harm xylitol presents to dogs and other pets, it is frequently not listed in the ingredient label in products we use on an everyday basis,” AVMA President José Arce said in a press release. “We must enact the Paws Off Act of 2021 to inform the public about which products contain the artificial sweetener and the poisonous effect it has on our pets.”

Map connects veterinary colleges, minority-serving institutions

In an effort to promote recruitment of, collaboration with, and increased access and opportunity for underrepresented students, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges has created an interactive map featuring locations of veterinary colleges along with institutions of higher education that serve minority populations, announced the AAVMC’s Vet-Med Educator newsletter.

The visualization shows existing relationships between veterinary colleges and minority-serving institutions, as well as the numerous minority-serving institutions where veterinary colleges, veterinary organizations, and veterinary professionals can foster relationships that strengthen pathways to careers in veterinary medicine for historically excluded students.

The work was done by the AAVMC Office of Institutional Research and Diversity and AAVMC Minority Institutions Working Group. The working group was established by the AAVMC board of directors to consider strategies for improving outreach to and collaboration with minority-serving institutions.

The working group’s goals include identifying best practices for primarily white institutions to engage with historically Black colleges and universities and Native American–serving institutions, cataloging current scholarship and internships for underrepresented minorities, and working with admissions teams to enhance diversity in recruitment and admissions.

The new map of minority-serving institutions and veterinary colleges is available at jav.ma/map.

AAFCO calls for more research on hemp products in animal food

The Association of American Feed Control Officials has issued a position paper and call to action on hemp and its byproducts in livestock feed and pet food.

AAFCO provides ingredient definitions, label standards, and laboratory guidance for state, federal, and international regulators of animal food. The association wants to encourage the hemp and animal food industries to gather data on the safety and efficacy of hemp and hemp byproducts proposed as nutritional ingredients. The products to be evaluated include whole hemp plants, hemp seed oil, CBD, and other cannabinoids.

When the data gathering is complete, AAFCO can formally define the ingredients and provide standards for safe pet food and livestock feed.

According to a statement from Susan M. Hays, AAFCO executive director: “We understand the hemp industry is eager to enter the animal food market, but we are concerned that not enough research has been completed on these products. That’s why we are urging the hemp industry to conduct appropriate research and submit their results to us for review as a normal step in our ingredient approval process.”

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing hemp, but animal food ingredients, including hemp products, fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. It is not yet known whether hemp products are safe to feed to all animal species as well as, in the case of food animals, whether it is safe for humans to consume meat, egg, and dairy products from animals that consumed hemp. According to AAFCO, research is needed to address the levels of THC and other cannabinoids in hemp and what effects the content will have on the intended uses and species.

Recently, proponents of hemp in animal food have focused on passing state legislation to allow use of hemp as an ingredient. AAFCO is concerned that bringing hemp products to market through a state-by-state patchwork of laws, without the backing of in-depth research and a formal review process, will lead to inconsistent manufacturing methods, unsupported marketing claims across the country, and restriction of interstate and international markets.

AAFCO encourages state lawmakers to work with key stakeholders such as the FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, livestock and dairy associations, consumer advocacy groups, and AAFCO itself within the formal process for review and approval of hemp and its byproducts for animal nutrition. AAFCO can help guide hemp producers through the submission and review process.

The AAFCO position paper “Hemp and Hemp Byproducts in Animal Food” is available at jav.ma/hemp.

Pet ferret in Florida develops SARS-CoV-2 infection

A pet ferret in Florida developed an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in September, becoming the first of its species with a known natural infection within the U.S.

The ferret had developed clinical signs, including sneezing and coughing, and it likely acquired the infection from a person with COVID-19, according to a Sept. 24 announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida’s Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory conducted the initial testing, and the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the animal was positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

At least one other pet ferret, in Slovenia, developed a natural infection that was identified in December 2020, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Also in late 2020, working ferrets used for rabbit control in Spain developed natural infections, according to a research letter in the July 2021 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The USDA announcement notes that a small number of animal species worldwide have had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, mostly among animals in close contact with people who had COVID-19.

People: American Association of Avian Pathologists


Virtual annual meeting, July 30-Aug. 2


Lasher-Bottorff Award

Dr. Tahseen Abdul-Aziz, Raleigh, North Carolina, in recognition of an avian diagnostician or technical service veterinarian who has made important contributions to the poultry health program in North America over the past 10 years. Dr. Abdul-Aziz received his veterinary degree in 1977 from Baghdad University and his doctorate in veterinary pathology in 1983 from Iowa State University. He is a veterinary pathologist and diagnostician at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Abdul-Aziz also serves as an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Phibro Animal Health Excellence in Poultry Research

Erica Spackman, PhD, Athens, Georgia, for sustained excellence in poultry disease and health for 20 years or more. Dr. Spackman earned her doctorate in animal science in 2001 from the University of Delaware. She is a research microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service’s Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory. Dr. Spackman has helped create diagnostic tests for viral diseases of poultry, including a real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction assay for avian influenza. She has also created RT-PCR diagnostic tests for Newcastle disease, avian astrovirus, avian reoviruses, turkey coronaviruses, and avian rotavirus.

Bayer-Snoeyenbos New Investigator Award

Dr Rüdiger Hauck, Auburn, Alabama, for research contributions to the field of avian medicine. Dr. Hauck received his veterinary degree in 2002 and earned his doctorate in veterinary microbiology in 2006 from Free University of Berlin in Germany. He is an assistant professor at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Hauck’s research focuses on coccidia and reovirus and aims to understand the molecular basis of their pathogenicity and use this knowledge in practical ways to prevent disease.

Outstanding Field Case and/or Diagnostic Report Award

Dr. Sara Throne (Kansas State ’01), Bentonville, Arkansas. A diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians, Dr. Throne is a senior director of veterinary services at Simmons Foods. She was recognized for her presentation “Sunday Morning Calls are Never Good!”

P.P. Levine Award

Farjana Saiada, PhD, Richmond, Virginia, won this award, presented to the senior author of the best paper published in the journal Avian Diseases. Dr. Saiada earned her doctorate in biomedical sciences in 2019 from Auburn University. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Saiada was recognized for the paper “Intestinal tropism of an infectious bronchitis virus isolate not explained by spike protein binding specificity.”

AAAP Special Service Award

Bob and Janece Bevans-Kerr, Jacksonville, Florida, for outstanding contributions to avian medicine via scientific work, organizational involvement, and service to colleagues. Bob Bevans-Kerr is executive director of the AAAP. Janece Bevans-Kerr serves as director of member services for the AAAP and is executive director of the ACPV.

AAAP Excellence in Mentorship Award

Dr. Jarra Jagne (Cornell ’90), Ithaca, New York, for her dedication to the poultry industry and mentorship of students and colleagues. Dr. Jagne serves as a senior extension associate in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a diplomate of the ACPV.

Reed Rumsey Student Award

Dr. Mohammadreza Ehsan, Turlock, California, won in the category of basic research in avian medicine. Dr. Ehsan received his veterinary degree in 2013 from Islamic Azad University, Garmsar Branch, in Iran. He earned a doctorate in bordetellosis in 2017 from the University of Tehran in Iran and a doctorate in avian mycoplasma in 2021 from the University of Georgia. Dr. Ehsan was recognized for his presentation “Application of Comparative Genomics to Mycoplasma Gallisepticum Vaccine Studies.”

A.S. Rosenwald Student Poster Award

Dr. Claudia Carranza, Lima, Peru, won in the category of applied research. Dr. Carranza received her veterinary degree in 2010 from Cayetano Heredia University in Lima. She is a postdoctoral student at the National University of San Marcos in Lima. Dr. Carranza was recognized for her poster “Continuous detection of GI-13 lineage avian coronavirus strain in poultry flocks from Peru.” Dr. Allison Boone (North Carolina State ’10), Raleigh, North Carolina, won in the category of basic research. Dr. Boone is a postdoctoral student at North Carolina State University. She was recognized for her poster “Immunomodulant effect of in ovo vaccination with herpesvirus of turkey supplemented with toll-like receptor 3 agonist (poly I:C) in meat-type chickens.”

Hall of Honor Inductees

Hyun Lillehoj, PhD, West Friendship, Maryland; Rudolf Hein, Georgetown, Delaware; and Dr. Tahseen Abdul-Aziz, Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Lillehoj earned her doctorate in immunology in 1979 from Wayne State University. She serves as a research molecular biologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland. Hein is a consultant who focuses on development and technical support for recombinant herpesvirus of turkey–vector vaccines.

AAAP Life Member Award

Dr. Richard Chin (California-Davis ’83), Petaluma, California, in recognition of his outstanding service to the poultry industry. Dr. Chin retired from the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Population Health and Reproduction as a professor emeritus of clinical diagnostic avian medicine. During his tenure, he also served several years with the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System. Dr. Chin is a past president of the AAAP and has been a member of the editorial board of Avian Diseases since 1999. He is a diplomate of the ACPV.


Dr. Louise Dufour-Zavala, Gainesville, Georgia, president; Dr. Rocio Crespo, Cary, North Carolina, president-elect; Dr. David Frame, Ephraim, Utah, immediate past president; Dr. Suzanne Dougherty, Athens, Alabama, executive vice president; Dr. Holly Sellers, Athens, Georgia, associate director; Ashley Hallowell, Abington, Pennsylvania, student director; and directors—Drs. Samuel Christenberry, Cullman, Alabama; Michelle Kromm, Wilmar, Minnesota; Julie Helm, Columbia, South Carolina; Karen Grogan, Dacula, Georgia; Simone Stoute, Turlock, California; and Naola Ferguson-Noel, Athens, Georgia

American College of Poultry Veterinarians


Virtual annual meeting, July 30-Aug. 2


In the year prior to the meeting, the college revised the certifying examination; developed new standard operating procedures for delivering the examination; revised the criteria for training program reviews; and produced a remote workshop on hatchery-associated topics using a new learning management site. A manual from the remote workshop is being developed. An ad hoc committee will review and revise the current standards for submitting continuing education for maintenance of certification.


Drs. Mark Bland, Napa, California, president; Sharon Heins-Miller, Cumming, Georgia, president-elect; Rocio Crespo, Cary, North Carolina, immediate past president; Suzanne Dougherty, Athens, Alabama, executive vice president; James Barton, Fayetteville, Arkansas, AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties representative; and governors—Drs. Gregorio Rosales, Athens, Alabama; Bruce Stewart-Brown, Salisbury, Maryland; Jose Linares, Apex, North Carolina; Ian Rubinoff, West Des Moines, Iowa; Rodrigo Gallardo, Davis, California; and Jenny Nicholds, Watkinsville, Georgia

American Veterinary Medical History Society


Virtual meetings, Feb. 24 and June 30


On Feb. 24, the society held a videoconference regarding the Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital in Monterey, California. The hospital, whose buildings and original interior constitute the only remaining World War II military equine hospital, is in jeopardy of being demolished. Margaret Davis, Marina, California, provided a description and history of the station and hospital. Dr. Karen Hassan, president of the Fort Ord Equine Foundation, spoke about the political issues involved and the ongoing campaign to save the hospital. Greg Krenzelok, director of the Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group, provided additional background on the station, which he has documented and photographed for archival purposes. See jav.ma/FortOrd.

On June 30, Dr. Zbigniew Wojcinski, immediate past president of the AVMHS, welcomed the virtual attendees. Dr. David Scott McVey, director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and associate dean of the UNL–Iowa State University Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine, presented “The History of Vaccines and the Impacts on Veterinary and Human Medicine.”


J. Fred Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Donaldson Charitable Trust

First place—Polly Weldon (Florida ’22), for “Unexpected Allies: How an Original Thought from the 1930s Saved the Florida Key Deer from Getting Screwed”; Conrad S. Schelkopf (Kansas State ’24), for “Scrapie: A Brief History of the First Prion Disease”; third place—Lydia Hall (Purdue ’21), for “Zoo Pathology: A Historic Lens on an Emerging Field”; and fourth place—Brooklyn Biese (Purdue ‘22), for “The Journey to Corticosteroid Treatment.”


Polly Weldon

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945


Conrad S. Schelkopf

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945


Lydia Hall

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945


Brooklyn Biese

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945


Similar to previous years, members had been sent a postcard prior to the meeting. This year’s postcard, in conjunction with Dr. McVey’s presentation on the history of vaccine development, featured a photo of an H.K. Mulford Co. rabies vaccine kit from the early 1920s, used in the treatment of rabies in humans.

Reports were presented on ongoing AVMHS activities, including the publication of two issues of the bulletin Veterinary Heritage in December 2020 and June 2021; the distribution of 18 certificates to veterinary hospitals and clinics as part of the society’s Registry of Heritage Veterinary Practices, which honors veterinary hospitals and clinics nationwide that are more than 50 years old; the addition of stories to AVMHS Time-Bites, a series of historical ministories, links to which are regularly published in the Veterinary Information Network’s email newsletters; and the 2021 J. Fred Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest.

Dr. Wojcinski sent a letter of congratulations, on behalf of the society, to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in support of the dedication of a state historical marker in recognition of Dr. Augustus Nathaniel Lushington (1861-1939). Dr. Lushington was the first African American veterinary graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in 1897 and is believed to be the first African American to earn a veterinary degree in the United States.

Four AVMHS Interim News & Comment newsletters were produced and sent to the membership in September and December 2020 and in March and June 2021.

Dr. Wojcinski had initiated the process of reviewing the society’s bylaws, which had not been comprehensively reviewed since 1999, and had reviewed them with the help of Dr. John de Jong, an AVMHS board member, and Susanne Whitaker, AVMHS secretary-treasurer. A revised draft was circulated to members in late January, and several suggestions and comments were received. The revised bylaws were approved by the AVMHS membership at the meeting.

Dr. Susan Aiello, Townsend, Tennessee, editor of the Guideposts book project, provided a progress report on the project. After almost two years of planning and preparation, the society’s “Guideposts for Veterinary Professionals” was published on May 11, 2021. Inspired by the one-health teachings of William Osler, MD, the pocket-size book will be given to veterinary students at their white coat and blue coat ceremonies. The book, focusing on topics intended to inspire and guide students as they enter the veterinary profession, is organized into five sections, plus a special chapter on Dr. Osler and an appendix with biographies of several prominent individuals in veterinary medicine. With support from the Merck Veterinary Manual, the society is providing free copies to one class per year over four years to every veterinary school and college in the United States and Canada. The editorial team is in contact with the schools and colleges to determine how many copies will be needed and when to ship them for distribution.


Dr. Pat Kennedy Arrington, Louisville, Kentucky, president; Dr. Marianne Ash, Lafayette, Indiana, program chair and president-elect; Dr. Zbigniew W. Wojcinski, Hillsborough, North Carolina, immediate past president; Susanne K. Whitaker, Ithaca, New York, secretary-treasurer; and members at large—Drs. John H. de Jong, Weston, Massachusetts; Arnold Goldman, Canton, Connecticut; John Howe, Grand Rapids, Minnesota; and Robert E. Treat, Manchester Center, Vermont


Dr. Pat Kennedy Arrington

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945


Dr. Marianne Ash

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

American College of Animal Welfare


Virtual meeting, Aug. 23


Earlier this year, the college received full recognition from the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties as a specialty organization. The job task analysis, which began when the college received provisional recognition, is ongoing.

The new Continuing Education Committee has preliminarily scheduled the 2022 ACAW short course for June 23-25 at the University of California-Davis. The first two days will consist primarily of didactic sessions, while the last day will focus on conducting animal welfare assessments. The committee is also looking at other opportunities to provide high-quality animal welfare continuing education to the veterinary community.

The first funded animal welfare residency, located at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, was approved by the college. At least two other veterinary colleges in the United States are working towards establishing an ACAW-approved animal welfare residency. ACAW provided four sessions at AVMA Virtual Convention 2021 and will continue to provide programming at future AVMA conventions.

The college has also established a social medial presence with a LinkedIn group.

New diplomate

Jennifer Federico, Apex, North Carolina


Drs. Stacy Pritt, Rowlett, Texas, president; Dan Marsman, Mason, Ohio, president-elect; Ron Banks, Oklahoma City, secretary; Steven R. Hansen, Phoenix, treasurer; and Jeff Boehm, Sausalito, California, immediate past president


Dr. Stacy Pritt

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945


Dr. Dan Marsman

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

South Dakota VMA


130th annual meeting, Sioux Falls, Aug. 15-18


Continuing education was offered to the more than 200 veterinarians and veterinary technicians in attendance. The 2020 meeting was held virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so the in-person 2021 meeting included award presentations to 2020 winners. The SDVMA Foundation held an auction, raising more than $11,000. The money raised will be used for scholarships benefiting veterinary students and veterinary technology students.


2020 Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Julie Ann Williams (Iowa State ’82), was posthumously recognized with this award, given to an individual who has brought distinction to the veterinary profession through devotion to the care and well-being of animals, support for the profession, and contributions to the community. Dr. Williams owned Mid River Veterinary Clinic in Chamberlain prior to retirement. She previously worked at Chamberlain Veterinary Supply. Dr. Williams was a member of the South Dakota Animal Industry Board for more than 25 years, serving as president for three years. She was also a member of the South Dakota Grassland Coalition.

2021 Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Russ Daly (Iowa State ’90), Columbia. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Dr. Daly is an extension veterinarian and a professor in the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department at South Dakota State University in Brookings. He also serves as state public health veterinarian with the South Dakota Department of Health. Earlier in his career, Dr. Daly practiced mixed animal medicine in Montrose for 15 years. He has served as chair of the SDVMA Continuing Education Committee for more than a decade.


Dr. Russ Daly

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2020 Veterinarian of the Year

Dr. Heidi Hanson (Iowa State ’99), Sioux Falls. A small animal veterinarian, Dr. Hanson practices at All City Pet Care Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Sioux Falls. She has established a blood donation program for dogs and cats at the hospital.


Dr. Heidi Hanson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2021 Veterinarian of the Year

Dr. Eric Heath (Oklahoma State ’92), Winner. A mixed animal veterinarian, Dr. Heath is a partner at Animal Clinic in Winner. He previously worked in Canistota and Miller. Dr. Heath serves on the Merck Large Animal Advisory Board.


Dr. Eric Heath

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2020 Emerging Leader Award

Dr. Kayla Brown (Colorado State ’13), Hot Springs, won this award, given to a veterinarian who graduated from veterinary school in the past 10 years and has displayed outstanding accomplishments in veterinary research, private practice, regulatory services, civic activities, or organized veterinary medicine. Dr. Brown co-owns Fall River Veterinary Clinic in Hot Springs. She has a special interest in bison medicine. Dr. Brown has conducted applied research on the prevalence of canine brucellosis.


Dr. Kayla Brown

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2021 Emerging Leader Award

Dr. Laura Handcock, Winner. Dr. Handcock received her veterinary degree in 2009 from Murdoch University in Australia. A mixed animal veterinarian, she is a partner at Animal Clinic in Winner. Earlier in her career, Dr. Handcock practiced predominately large animal medicine in Geraldton, Australia.


Dr. Laura Handcock

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2020 Outstanding Veterinary Technician

Tonya Jark, Aberdeen, in recognition of her support of veterinary medicine through dedicated care and professional knowledge of the animals in her care. Jark works at Tim’s Veterinary Service in Aberdeen. She is known for her caring personality, extensive knowledge, and years of experience.


Tonya Jark

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2021 Outstanding Veterinary Technician

Sherri Mayes, Winner. Mayes has worked at Animal Clinic in Winner for more than 20 years. As a large animal veterinary technician, she assists with pregnancy checking, bull testing, and working calves. She is known for her dedication in helping her clients improve the health and welfare of their animals.


Sherri Mayes

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2020 Bill Davis Memorial Award

John Rehmeier, St. Onge, won this award, given to a sales representative of a veterinary supply company who has demonstrated an unusual degree of service and assistance to veterinarians and to the veterinary profession in South Dakota. Rehmeier works for Boehringer Ingelheim. He is known for excellent customer service and for his efforts in ensuring that veterinarians and practice staff members have the information, products, and competitive pricing they need.


John Rehmeier

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2021 Bill Davis Memorial Award

Rich Konechne, Hartford. Konechne works for Animal Health International. He is known for his knowledge on current industry trends and his individualized approach to helping veterinarians succeed. During the supply chain issues this past year, Konechne ensured his customers had what they needed at the right time.


Rich Konechne

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

2020 Life Members

Drs. Dave Barz, Parkston; James Beaty, Mitchell; Ronald Ford, Lemmon; Roy Peters, Sioux Falls; Mark Rieb, Watertown; John Voegeli, Piedmont; and David Zeman, Brookings

2021 Life Members

Drs. Jay Alberda, Platte; John Allan, Hermosa; Christopher Chase, Brookings; Darrel Kraayenbrink, Platte; Sharon Leiferman, White; Mei-Yao Louis, Watertown; Kenneth Odde, Pollock; Frank Robison, Scappoose, Oregon; Ladd Siebert, Eureka; Gary Straight, Gregory; Christine Teets, Rapid City; Theodore Warkenthien, Clark; and Vicky Wilkey, Blunt


Drs. Carolyn Geis, Pierre, president; Matt Stork, Sioux Falls, president-elect; Heather Lerseth, Groton, vice president; Lisa Stanley, Fort Pierre, secretary-treasurer; Chanda Nilsson, Groton, immediate past president; Anna Braunschmidt, Garretson, District 1 representative; Heidi Sorensen, Watertown, District 2 representative; Sandra Wahlert, Hot Springs, District 3 representative, and AVMA delegate and alternate delegate—Drs. Chris Chase, Brookings, and Cindy Franklin, Yankton


Dr. Carolyn Geis

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 259, 9; 10.2460/javma.259.9.945

Toxicologist becomes fellow with international group

Dr. Maurice Cary (Tuskegee ’80) was recently granted the status of fellow of the International Academy of Toxicologic Pathology. He is an expert in regulatory nonclinical anatomic histopathology and drug safety assessment.

The IATP fellow accreditation is the only organized, global recognition of career accomplishments that exists in the field of toxicologic pathology.

Dr. Cary received his doctorate in toxicology in 1985 from Washington State University. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

He has handled implementation of nonclinical programs and regulatory documentation preparation for hundreds of studies performed in Europe, the U.S., and Asia involving biologics or new chemical entities. Dr. Cary is also experienced in outsourcing because he was head of toxicology outsourcing in Europe for Novartis. This led to his special interest in optimizing the performance and reporting of preclinical safety and risk assessment studies. He is currently serving as director of Pathology Experts GmBH in Basel, Switzerland.

Obituaries: AVMA member | AVMA honor roll member | Nonmember

James D. Bilberry

Dr. Bilberry (Auburn ’54), 90, McGehee, Arkansas, died Aug. 1, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Army during the Korean War. In 1957, Dr. Bilberry established a practice in McGehee. He also volunteered at county fairs and at 4-H club events and raised cattle and horses. Dr. Bilberry served on the Arkansas State Racing Commission and was a member of the Arkansas VMA. In 1995, he was named Arkansas VMA Veterinarian of the Year.

Active in his community, Dr. Bilberry helped organize the Ducks Unlimited Delta Chapter, served as a Desha County justice of the peace for several decades, and helped establish the McGehee Men’s Club and the McGehee Industrial Foundation, serving as president of the latter from 1996-2014. Also active with the Boy Scouts of America, he was named an Eagle Scout and was a past McGehee Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Dr. Bilberry is survived by three sons, three daughters, 17 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Paws & Claws Humane Society, P.O. Box 238, McGehee, AR 71654.

Donald B. Feldman

Dr. Feldman (Illinois ’61), 91, Durham, North Carolina, died Aug. 18, 2021. Following graduation, he practiced small animal medicine in the Chicago area for six years. Dr. Feldman subsequently joined the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as a clinical veterinarian. He later served as an attending veterinarian with the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where he worked until his retirement in 2007.

A diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, Dr. Feldman co-authored the book “Necropsy Guide: Rodents and the Rabbit.” He is survived by his wife, Beth; three sons and a daughter; and three grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Meals on Wheels Durham, 2522 Ross Road, Durham, NC 27703.

Elizabeth A. Fox

Dr. Fox (Illinois ’84), 62, Lake Zurich, Illinois, died July 6, 2021. A small animal veterinarian, she practiced at Arlington Golf Animal Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Earlier, Dr. Fox worked at Buffalo Grove Animal Hospital in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, for several years. She was a member of the Chicago VMA. Dr. Fox’s husband, Raymond; a son and a daughter; her mother; and three brothers and a sister survive her. Memorials may be made to the Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, 1000 N. Westmoreland Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045.

Tsegaye Habtemariam

Dr. Habtemariam (Colorado State ’70), 79, Tucker, Georgia, died Aug. 27, 2021. From 2006-14, he was dean of Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Following graduation and after receiving a master’s in preventive veterinary medicine and earning a doctorate in epidemiology, both from the University of California-Davis, Dr. Habtemariam joined the veterinary faculty at Tuskegee University as an associate professor. During his tenure, he served as a professor of epidemiology and biomedical informatics and directed the International Center for Tropical Animal Health; the Center for Computational Epidemiology, Bioinformatics & Risk Analysis; and Biomedical Information Management Systems. Dr. Habtemariam also served as associate dean for research and graduate studies. Following his service as dean, he returned to the Department of Pathobiology as a professor of epidemiology and biomedical informatics, retiring in 2019.

Dr. Habtemariam served as chair of grant review committees at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was active with the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization and held international workshops in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and the United States to train scientists in science-based risk analysis. Dr. Habtemariam served on the NIH HIV/AIDS Executive Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. He received several honors from Tuskegee University, including the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award and Outstanding Faculty Research Award in 1984 and the Outstanding Teacher Award for Creativity in 1991. In 2002, Dr. Habtemariam was inducted as a fellow of the National Academies of Practice in veterinary medicine. In 2004, he received an honorary diploma from the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society.

Dr. Habtemariam is survived by his wife, Mintwab Asfaw, and four children.

Thomas J. Hagerty

Dr. Hagerty (Minnesota ’59), 85, St. Michael, Minnesota, died Aug. 14, 2021. Following graduation, he practiced mixed animal medicine in St. Michael for more than 25 years. From 1984 until retirement in 2001, Dr. Hagerty served as executive director of the Minnesota State Board of Animal Health and as state veterinarian. He then served as lead veterinarian at the Minnesota State Fair for 15 years.

Dr. Hagerty was a past president of the United States Animal Health Association and Minnesota VMA and a past chair of the AVMA Council on Public Health and the former AVMA-USDA Relations Committee. He also chaired the MVMA Government Affairs Committee and served on the MVMA Council of Senior Veterinarians, MVMA Nominations and Awards Subcommittee, and the MVMA Public Health Committee. Dr. Hagerty was named Minnesota Veterinarian of the Year in 1985. In 1997, he was inducted as a fellow of the National Academies of Practice in veterinary medicine.

Active in his community, Dr. Hagerty served on the St. Michael-Albertville School Board for 25 years, also serving on the Frankfort Township Board and the St. Michael City Council. He was a charter member of the St. Michael Lions Club. Dr. Hagerty is survived by his wife, Shirley; three daughters and two sons; 14 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a sister and a brother. Memorials may be made to the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, 1265 Snelling Ave., Falcon Heights, MN 55108; to the Minnesota VMA Foundation, 101 Bridgepoint Way, Suite 100, South St. Paul, MN 55075; or to Unbound, a nonprofit organization that helps children with educational needs in 19 developing countries, and sent to 1 Elmwood Ave., Kansas City, KS 66103.

Richard F. Harker

Dr. Harker (Iowa State ’57), 88, Kewanee, Illinois, died June 21, 2021. Following graduation, he joined Kewanee Veterinary Clinic, where he practiced until retirement in 1992. During his career, Dr. Harker also served as an instructor at Black Hawk College in Galva, Illinois, teaching animal health and economics. In retirement, he continued to practice on a part-time basis.

Dr. Harker’s five sons, three daughters, 22 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials toward a public address system for the sanctuary may be sent to First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St., Kewanee, IL 61443.

Glen E. Hurley

Dr. Hurley (Kansas State ’53), 92, Courtland, Minnesota, died June 20, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Air Force as a base veterinarian at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hurley subsequently worked in a large animal practice in Ellsworth, Minnesota. In 1956, he established a mixed animal practice in Boxholm, Iowa. Dr. Hurley moved in 1975 to Waverly, Minnesota, where he practiced at Waverly Veterinary Clinic.

Upon retirement, he joined the Peace Corps and lived for a while in Morocco, training veterinary technicians, teaching animal husbandry, and providing animal care. Dr. Hurley later served with the Christian Veterinary Mission in Kenya and Mongolia. He was also active with volunteer programs in El Salvador, Ghana, Jamaica, Guatemala, Granada, St. Vincent, and Puerto Rico.

Dr. Hurley was a past president of the North Central Iowa VMA and was a life member of the Iowa VMA. He is survived by three children, four grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202.

Ingram P. Johnson Jr.

Dr. Johnson (Auburn ’56), 90, Germantown, Tennessee, died Aug. 22, 2021. A small animal veterinarian, he founded Eastgate Animal Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Johnson later expanded the practice with Olde Towne Animal Clinic in Germantown. He was a founding member of the first animal emergency center in Memphis and served on the board of directors of the Memphis/Shelby County VMA. Dr. Johnson was a member of the Tennessee VMA and received a TVMA Award of Veterinary Merit in 1990. He participated in several mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, India, and Ecuador.

Dr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Chita; two daughters and a son; seven grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren. Dr. Gram Johnson (Tennessee ’88), his son, is also a veterinarian. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601, or toward the music ministry at Germantown Baptist Church, 9450 Poplar Ave., Germantown, TN 38139.

William R. Klemm

Dr. Klemm (Auburn ’58), 86, Bryan, Texas, died June 24, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Air Force as a captain. In 1964, Dr. Klemm earned his doctorate in biology from Notre Dame University and joined the veterinary faculty of Iowa State University, where he was eventually named an assistant professor. In 1966, he began working in the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Klemm was promoted to a full professor in the department four years later. In 1980, he transferred to Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, where he served as a senior professor of neuroscience and a professor of veterinary integrative sciences.

Dr. Klemm wrote the books “Dillos: Roadkill on Extinction Highway?,” “Blame Game. How to Win It,” “Core Ideas in Neuroscience,” “Mental Biology: The New Science of How the Brain and Mind Relate,” “Memory Power 101,” “Atoms of Mind,” and “Triune Brain, Triune Mind, Triune Worldview.” He served several years in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a colonel. Dr. Klemm is survived by a son, a daughter, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Stillcreek Ranch, 6055 Hearne Road, Bryan, TX 77808, or Twin City Mission, P.O. Box 3490, Bryan, TX 77805.

Timothy R. O’Brien

Dr. O’Brien (Illinois ’65), 81, Davis, California, died July 26, 2021. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiologists, he served on the faculty of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for 39 years, retiring as a professor emeritus of radiology in 2008.

Following graduation, Dr. O’Brien completed an internship at Washington State University and then earned a master’s and a doctorate in radiology and radiation biology at Colorado State University. He subsequently joined the veterinary school at UC-Davis as an assistant professor of veterinary radiology and as an assistant research radiologist in the radiation biology laboratory.

During his tenure at UC-Davis, Dr. O’Brien served as service chief and directed the residency program for radiology, was associate dean for student services, and was chair of surgical and radiological sciences. Under his leadership, diagnostic imaging expanded to include expertise in radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, ultrasonography, and cross-sectional imaging, and the residency program became known as a premier program in training in veterinary diagnostic imaging.

Dr. O’Brien had a special interest in equine orthopedic disease and was known for his expertise in equine imaging. He spent a large part of his career learning about equine musculoskeletal disease through improved imaging techniques and studying the pathophysiology of joint disease. Dr. O’Brien developed special projections to evaluate disorders of the carpal, navicular, and pedal bones and the fetlock, stifle, and tarsal joints of horses. Passionate about continuing education and improving the quality of equine radiographs, he prepared and delivered the Equine Lameness Panel at the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ annual meetings.

Dr. O’Brien founded and directed the annual Lake Tahoe Equine Conference for more than four decades. He served on the UC-Davis Center for Equine Health’s former Scientific Advisory Committee for many years and on the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s former Scientific Committee, chairing the committee for five years. He also served on the AAEP’s former Pre-Purchase Examination Committee and on research committees for the AAEP and ACVR. Dr. O’Brien authored the book “Radiographic Diagnosis of Abdominal Disorders in the Dog and Cat: Radiographic Interpretations, Clinical Signs, Pathophysiology,” and published the monograph “O’Brien’s Radiology for the Ambulatory Equine Practitioner.” In 2008, the AAEP honored him with the Distinguished Educator (Academic) Award.

Dr. O’Brien’s wife, Janet; a son; and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials toward the Charles Heumphreus Memorial Lecture, with the memo line of the check notated to IMO Tim O’Brien, may be sent to UC Regents, UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Advancement, P.O. Box 1167, Davis, CA 95617, give.ucdavis.edu/go/heumphreus.

John W. Sagartz

Dr. Sagartz (Illinois ‘64), 80, Indian Trail, North Carolina, died July 20, 2021. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, he founded Veritas Laboratories in 1985 in Burlington, North Carolina, serving as head pathologist. Earlier in his career, Dr. Sagartz was in private practice in West Point, Iowa, and ranched and worked in Manhattan, Kansas. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of captain. During his military service, Dr. Sagartz received training in pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and was posted in Bangkok, where he conducted research on rabies. He is survived by his wife, Christina; four sons and two daughters; 15 grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren. Two of his sons, Drs. Michael J. Sagartz (Kansas State ’88) and John E. Sagartz (Kansas State ’90), are also veterinarians. Memorials may be made to Carolina Border Collie Rescue, 1391 Kildaire Farm Road No. 1001, Cary, NC 27511, cbcr.org/donate.

O’Hara D. Tyler

Dr. Tyler (Oklahoma State ’70), 74, Wilburton, Oklahoma, died April 5, 2021. He owned a small animal practice in McAlester, Oklahoma, prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Tyler practiced in southwest Arkansas and in California at Paradise and Anaheim. Dr. Tyler was a member of the Arkansas, California, and Oklahoma VMAs. His wife, Diane, and a son and four daughters survive him.

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