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With the growing popularity of nontraditional pets comes a heightened risk of human infection with zoonotic disease.

The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently examined the disease threats to pet owners and offered recommendations for prevention in an article published this June in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.

Three major groups of animals have repeatedly been associated with local, regional, and national outbreaks of zoonotic diseases in people in the United States: rodents, backyard poultry, and reptiles, according to the article, titled “A Review of Zoonotic Disease Threats to Pet Owners: A Compendium of Measures to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases Associated with Non-Traditional Pets Such as Rodents and Other Small Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Backyard Poultry, and Other Selected Animals.”

The compendium, available at jav.ma/compendium, lists common risk factors leading to illness associated with nontraditional pet animal species. It also provides a summary of identified outbreaks, case reports, and types of pathogens in the U.S. from 1996 through 2017.


Recognizing the role of veterinary teams in helping keep antimicrobial resistance at bay, the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners announced in July that they have published their joint recommendations for antimicrobial stewardship.

The 2022 AAFP/AAHA Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines for companion animal practice “are designed to aid practicing veterinarians in choosing appropriate antimicrobial therapy to best serve their patients and minimize the development of antimicrobial resistance and other adverse effects,” according to the introduction to the guidelines.

In keeping with the AVMA policy “Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials,” some of the top tenets of the guidelines from the AAFP and AAHA are as follows:

  • Practice good preventive medicine, monitor health routinely, and keep vaccinations updated.

  • Teach clients about good animal care practices and hygiene.

  • Use other alternatives to oral antimicrobials such as bathing, sprays, or ointments.

  • Consider watchful waiting to observe whether a condition truly needs antimicrobials or whether patients can clear it on their own.

  • Use diagnostic testing to determine if an infection is bacterial and would respond to antimicrobials.

The new guidelines and related resources are available at jav.ma/stewardship.


In the wake of the devastating flooding in Kentucky, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation launched a fundraising effort to support the state’s veterinary community.

The AVMF committed a gift of $25,000 to the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Foundation to support people providing animals with emergency veterinary care, food, boarding, and supplies.

“Shelters in the stricken areas are overwhelmed and many veterinarians are doing pro bono work for those that lost their homes and have pets that are injured and in need of care,” said Dr. José Arce, president of the AVMF, in an Aug. 4 announcement about the fundraising effort.

“On behalf of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, our veterinary community is very grateful for the donation from AVMF to help with the ongoing needs caused by the devastating floods in eastern Kentucky,” said Debra Hamelback, Kentucky VMA executive director, in the announcement.

The AVMF accepts donations at avmf.org. The website also provides information about AVMF grants for veterinarians impacted by disasters and for veterinarians who provide care to animals impacted by disasters.

Researchers see hope, progress in big data

Studies across vast information sets are aiding patient testing, treatment

By Greg Cima

An algorithm applied to a cat’s medical data can help predict chronic kidney disease two years earlier than traditional diagnosis.

Developing that tool involved using artificial intelligence to analyze more than 100,000 patient medical records and detect previously hidden patterns.

Darren Logan, PhD, head of research at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, said that, as more cats are tested using the RenalTech tool, more cat owners switch their pets to diets that could slow disease development. He expects to see in 5-10 years whether those tests and interventions are reducing overall disease.

Waltham scientists developed the tests using data collected from veterinary hospitals over the past 20 years. The institute, which is owned by Mars Inc., is now partnering with Mars-owned Banfield, BluePearl, and VCA hospitals to develop an extensive biobank over a decade, with data from 10,000 dogs and 10,000 cats. The biobank is one example of the large-scale data projects—or big data—that could lead to more advanced diagnostics and earlier detection of myriad diseases.

Dr. Logan said the biobank will include recorded results of routine wellness checks and tests on blood and fecal samples, genome sequences for those pets, gut bacteria analysis, and information provided by owners through questionnaires about home environments and lifestyles.

“From a data perspective, it will be the biggest single collection of biological data in companion animals’ history,” he said.

Dr. Audrey Ruple said researchers are starting to see true, whole-life information about animals. The ability to combine vast amounts of clinical, genetic, climate, and environmental data is changing how researchers look at risk, propensity scores, health outcomes, and how clinicians can prevent disease, she said.

Dr. Ruple is an associate professor of quantitative epidemiology in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. She also is part of the research team and a member of the executive operations team for the Dog Aging Project, which is collecting various data from tens of thousands of dogs to better understand the factors that influence changes in aging dogs. The project incorporates medical records, survey information from dog owners, other information from veterinarians, biochemical profiles, ability tests, and environmental data.

All of that helps researchers find the true drivers of disease occurrence, including the interactions between genetics and environmental exposures, Dr. Ruple said.


A cat that was tested for renal disease with a tool developed using large-scale patient data (Courtesy of Antech Diagnostics)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

“Being able to determine those things really helps us to help animals to live longer, healthier lives,” she said.

Much of that information also could translate into advancements in human health care, she added.


Dr. Ruple is the corresponding author for a review article, published in 2021 by the journal Animals, on big data in veterinary medicine. She and her co-authors wrote that veterinary medical data may be underutilized in medical research.

Humans and other animals often develop similar diseases with similar genetic or external causes and similar clinical outcomes. Plus, working with veterinary data presents fewer challenges related to privacy and confidentiality concerns, the article states. Dogs have the most phenotypic diversity and known naturally occurring diseases among land mammals. They develop about 400 inherited disorders relevant to human medicine, and they share humans’ physical and chemical environments, the authors write.

Academic and nonprofit institutions in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia have started or become involved in data aggregation projects, some of which have collected millions to tens of millions of records, according to the Association for Veterinary Informatics. Those projects are aiding work such as efforts to improve health outcomes, support judicious antimicrobial use, understand genetic causes of diseases in animals, and identify the health effects of climate and environment.

In addition to data repositories for veterinary records, there are dedicated registries such as the previously mentioned Dog Aging Project, which has collected information on tens of thousands of dogs, and Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which gathers health, environmental, and behavioral data from more than 3,000 dogs each year.

Dr. Rachael Kreisler, immediate past president of the Association for Veterinary Informatics and associate professor of shelter medicine and epidemiology at Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine, said analyses of veterinary projects’ data have led to clinical insights published in hundreds of scientific articles. But she also noted some drawbacks, including patient populations at academic institutions that differ from patient populations in general practice and the challenges of combining veterinary data from various sources.

Significant amounts of patient data in veterinary medicine are recorded in unstructured free text, which can be difficult to parse for meaning. Even when structured diagnoses are entered, they are often unique to the practice or even the doctor making the diagnosis. Aggregating patient records requires reconciling those differences, and such data cleaning can be labor intensive.

Dr. Kreisler said this lack of structure prevents clinicians and researchers from accessing the depth and value of the data generated by veterinarians. She recommends that companion animal veterinary practices adopt the Problem and Diagnosis Terms developed by the American Animal Hospital Association, which are freely available. There is also standardized terminology for equine and specialty practices. These standardized terms allow veterinarians to “speak the same language,” enabling both clinicians and researchers to have insight into their clinical data.

While using standard terms might seem like one more hassle in a busy veterinarian’s day, Dr. Kreisler said standard terminology is critical for advancing clinical care and advocated for veterinarians to put pressure on practice software vendors to implement standardized diagnostic codes and terminology. She gave the example of how a common language could allow veterinarians to set key performance indicators for medical outcomes, much as they have been created for financial outcomes, demonstrating where practices may be able to improve patient care.

“It would also give veterinarians essential tools for client communication, allowing them to convey the value of particular diagnostics and procedures in ways that help clients to participate in medical decision making meaningfully,” Dr. Kreisler said.

Dr. Logan of Waltham said data storage is another substantial cost for big data projects. So are trained experts in data analysis. During the past five years, the institute has hired dozens of data scientists to work on long-term health data and is looking for scientists of various disciplines in academia and at companies who are interested in partnering with Waltham to analyze health data.


Dr. Jimmy Barr, chief medical officer for Mars-owned BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, said the ability to compare data across millions of medical records lets researchers characterize conditions in exciting new ways.

BluePearl alone provided care for about 850,000 pets in 1.3 million visits during 2021, according to the BluePearl’s 2021 Pet Health Trends Report.

Studies that take advantage of large amounts of data also can help clinicians see the most efficient ways to care for patients, as well as produce a safer environment for patients and doctors. BluePearl data have already been used to implement more structure during rounds to reduce mistakes during patient handoffs, and ongoing studies could show the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital workloads and efficiency.

But Dr. Barr said he is the most interested in finding answers to questions about how to provide the best care in specific scenarios. That could take the form of decision trees or algorithms regarding which antimicrobial is the most likely to be effective for a particular infection.

Dr. Ruple of the Dog Aging Project also is chair of the veterinary advisory board for pet insurance company Fetch by The Dodo. She said the company has been using machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze 16 years of data on health outcomes for more than 500,000 dogs. One study, for example, identified a drop in anxiety-related claims coinciding with a rise in overall behavior-related claims as people began staying home during 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and those results provided a warning that signs of anxiety could rebound as people return to offices.

Dr. Kreisler of the Association for Veterinary Informatics hopes that recent innovations in veterinary medicine demonstrate to veterinarians the value of the medical data they generate. These innovations include predictive algorithms for diagnosis of Addison’s disease in dogs as well as for the progression of chronic kidney disease progression in cats, computer-generated interpretation of radiographs, automated pain scoring from photographs of cats, and blood tests that improve preclinical cancer detection in dogs—all of which were developed using large veterinary data sets. While technologies such as natural language processing—which automate the analysis of unstructured data—are likely to play a role in the future, their development is, ironically, held back by a lack of coded data from which to learn.

And the wealth of data generated is increasing every day, Dr. Kreisler said. Automatic feeders can read microchips to determine how often pets eat or drink, for example.

If the Mars biobank project is as successful as hoped, Dr. Logan said, “The benefits to our business and to the health of pets in general will be so great that the logic of continuing this beyond the 10 years will be overwhelming.

“And so we see this not only as a 10-year one-off project, but we actually see this ultimately as the future of veterinary care.”

Learn more about the Mars PetCare Biobank at marspetcarebiobank.com and the Dog Aging Project at dogagingproject.org.


Three companies announced in late May that they are launching a national canine cancer registry to provide the veterinary community and dog owners with incidence and prevalence data to help guide diagnosis and treatment of cancer in dogs.

Co-sponsored by Jaguar Animal Health, the communications agency TogoRun, and Ivee, which offers veterinary software for pet health records, the initiative will initially access information about canine cancer from a multiyear Gallup survey of U.S. dog owners and a retrospective review of more than 35,000 anonymous patient records with more than 800 confirmed cancer diagnoses.

The Gallup survey, conducted in March 2022, found that the prevalence of U.S. dogs with cancer in 2021 was 3.4%, less than the approximately 5% prevalence in humans that year. The survey also found that the incidence of U.S. dogs newly diagnosed with cancer in 2021 was 2.8%, approximately five times the 0.57% incidence of newly diagnosed cancer in humans that year.

“Protecting dogs from cancer begins with knowing its impact by breed, type, age, gender, and location,” said Dr. Terry Fossum, a member of the scientific advisory board for the registry, in the May announcement. She is co-founder of Dr. Fossum’s Pet Care and CEO of Epic Veterinary Specialists. “The U.S. has lagged behind other countries where there are multiple canine health registries and there have been several attempts by other groups to establish a U.S. registry without success.”

Among the scientific advisory board’s activities are driving adoption of a consistent diagnostic coding system for canine cancer and supporting the goals of the National Cancer Institute’s Comparative Oncology Program. The board is encouraging veterinary clinics to adopt coding practices that align with the recently published Veterinary International Classification of Diseases for Oncology Canine Tumors First Edition.

Data from the canine cancer registry is accessible to the public via an interactive dashboard on the registry website, and clinical practitioners and academics have open access to the data for research purposes. The registry will grow as veterinary clinics and pet owners upload medical records of dogs with cancer.

Dog owners and members of the veterinary community can visit TakeChargeRegistry.com for more information, including how to upload medical records.

Q&A: New AVMA officer dedicated to providing opportunities for all

Latonia Craig, EdD, has long been an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion

Interview by Malinda Larkin

Latonia Craig, EdD, will step into a new role for both her and the AVMA this month: chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer.

With expertise in DEI and a background working in academia, most recently as assistant dean for inclusive excellence at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, she brings with her a wealth of experience that builds synergies among groups as well as an understanding that allyship will be integral to the work ahead.

Dr. Craig talked with AVMA News about the lessons she’s learned in her career, meeting people where they are, and what she hopes to do at the AVMA.

The responses have been edited for length and clarity.


A. In this work, you need emotional intelligence and patience—not just with yourself but also with individuals working with you. You have to meet people where they are. It takes time, but with experience, you become better with how you communicate and how you navigate conflict or crisis.

What has influenced me in doing this work and what has helped me is I did policy debate for four years at the University of Louisville. This trained me to look at and present things from all sides. I try to see all the parts of why someone took the position they did. Even when presenting something or helping people navigate certain circumstances, I am constantly thinking, “If we do this, this is the impact it could have. If we don’t do this, this is the message we’re sending.” You have to know what is happening and not happening in front of you and assess what that means.


Latonia Craig, EdD

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

I also taught a cultural diversity course, Introduction to Pan-African Studies, for over 15 years at the University of Louisville. Being engaged with students and stepping into that space for the first time helped me see where people may struggle with this work. This insight would inform how I could help connect them to the work—and how creating a space where they could ask questions could enhance their cultural competency.


A. The Learning Café Series was developed in the summer of 2020 after the George Floyd incident. My office received an overwhelming request for a space to engage in critical dialogue. However, we had to be innovative in the face of COVID. We were trying to figure out how to create space for people to feel empowered and connect with one another. We put together 40 DEI topics and asked faculty, staff, and students to rank their top 10 choices. We received over 200 responses in 24 hours.

People are hungry for knowledge. If you create a space for people to learn and ask questions without judgment, that’s when true learning can take place. My approach is not for me to teach at people but learn with them because folks can teach me, too. Experience is our greatest educator.


A. It’s all about representation, recruitment, and retention when it comes to DEI.

For representation, if the veterinary profession intends to diversify its workforce in all ways, it will have to cast a wide net and introduce the profession early to groups at all levels including those interested students from kindergarten through postsecondary school.

The other piece of that is, while attracting and recruiting diverse talent is important, the more difficult part is creating a sense of belonging and community for people to stay in the profession. That’s retention. Areas that would be key to this would be areas of accessibility and advancement. There are ways we can learn about what current retention areas exist and if they’re working.

From my former seat as an assistant dean at Purdue, the veterinary profession has been more intentional about addressing the lack of diversity in the field. Several colleges like Purdue have focused on changing the narrative of being the least diverse profession. Those efforts have not gone unnoticed. For us in the work, we don’t want to be stagnant. We can’t change the past, but we can reflect on it to challenge ourselves.


A. I think part of my work, at least for the first year or few months, is listening. My process has always been to do that. What are members saying or have they been saying? What things are in place that are working that we could capitalize on? This work will require the efforts of everyone to measure progress.


A. I am certainly looking forward to working with members of the AVMA, senior leadership, and the Board of Directors. Allies will be key to success. I will need allies who are willing to help do some of the heavy lifting. I cannot do it all. I hope there will be more folks out there—and some have already started contacting me—who are willing to put in the work. The support that has already been shown truly excites me and will help me to do the work at an even faster pace and more effectively. I would like to continue building momentum and take the AVMA to greater heights where we can promote inclusive excellence in all the ways that render positive results.


With a grant from the Zoetis Foundation, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation is offering a new scholarship program to support students in veterinary technician programs.

Announced in August, the Zoetis Foundation Veterinary Technician Scholarship Program will provide $1,000 scholarships to up to 270 students. The scholarship application cycle opens on Sept. 1 and closes on Oct. 7. The Zoetis Foundation is funding the scholarships, and the AVMF will manage the program, including selecting and notifying recipients. Notification is anticipated to happen by the end of the year.

“The Zoetis Foundation is thrilled to support the AVMF through a grant to recognize student leadership and promote diversity among future veterinary technicians by helping to offset the significant costs associated with education,” said Jeannette Ferran Astorga, Zoetis executive vice president of corporate affairs, communications, and sustainability and president of the Zoetis Foundation, in an announcement. “The new scholarships advance our commitments to veterinary education and support for people who care for animals.”

Applicants must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled full time in an AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities–accredited program in the United States, including Puerto Rico.

  • Be in good academic standing.

“We are honored for the opportunity to partner with the Zoetis Foundation in supporting our veterinary technicians through the creation of the Zoetis Foundation Veterinary Technician Scholarship,” said Dr. José Arce, chair of the AVMF and immediate past president of the AVMA, in the announcement. “Veterinary technicians are an integral part of veterinary medicine and our animal care teams, and these scholarships will allow veterinary technology students to cover some of the costs associated with their education.”

For more information about the scholarship program and criteria, please visit avmf.org/scholarships. To apply, eligible students should visit VetVance.com.


By Katie Burns

Veterinarians have an ethical responsibility to provide emergency care, according to the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, but practicing that responsibility can prove to be challenging in certain situations.

The AVMA House of Delegates discussed the responsibility to provide emergency care as well as needed updates to the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act—possibly including updates related to license portability, veterinary technicians, and telehealth—at the Veterinary Information Forum during the regular annual session of the HOD, held July 28-29 in Philadelphia in conjunction with AVMA Convention 2022.

This spring, the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service initiated its scheduled review of the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics and AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act.

Annotations to the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics indicate that, “In emergencies, veterinarians have an ethical responsibility to provide essential services for animals when necessary to save life or relieve suffering.”

On the floor of the HOD, delegates discussed their own experiences with providing emergency services, particularly at a time when many practices can’t keep up with the demand for veterinary services overall.

The reference committee that discussed the responsibility to provide emergency care suggested the following points for the Council on Veterinary Service to consider while reviewing the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics.

  • Define “emergencies.” Is this meant to refer to immediate life-threatening situations and situations in which the animal is in intractable pain and suffering?

  • Address payment.

  • Add wording regarding whether providing the emergency care is prudent, with considerations to include the following:

    • The number and skill level of available staff members.

    • Available equipment.

    • Working conditions that are safe for veterinary team personnel.

    • Sufficient knowledge of the species.

    • Geography or location of the emergency, particularly for large animal or mobile practices.

    • Whether a veterinarian-client-patient relationship has been established. In other words, is it an established client and patient?

  • Clarify that euthanasia is acceptable to prevent intractable pain and suffering even if a client is not identified, for example, an animal brought in by animal control or other government agency.


Dr. Elizabeth Boggier, New Jersey delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates, discusses her experiences relating to the responsibility to provide emergency care during the HOD’s regular annual session on July 29 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Malinda Larkin)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

Ahead of the HOD meeting, most of the comments from AVMA members about updating the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act were to support the idea of providing license portability from state to state.

Dr. Juan Amieiro, Puerto Rico delegate, said he thinks veterinarians can look to other health professions and get to a place where license portability could work, with a universal license not being the expectation.

Regarding veterinary technicians, Dr. Jennifer Glass, Idaho delegate, said her state does not define roles for veterinary technicians, but veterinarians in her state are pushing now to define those roles in the state practice act.

Pertaining to telehealth, Dr. Lindy O’Neal, Arkansas delegate, said she would like to see an emphasis in the model practice act on the requirement for an in-person examination to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship before initiating telehealth.


By Katie Burns

The AVMA has new or revised policies on raw milk, use of prescription drugs, reporting of adverse events, genetic modification of animals in agriculture, and approval and availability of antimicrobials for food-producing animals.

The AVMA House of Delegates approved the policies during its regular annual session, held July 28-29 in Philadelphia in conjunction with AVMA Convention 2022. The AVMA Board of Directors had referred the policies as resolutions to the House with recommendations for approval.

The AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee reviewed the AVMA policy on “Raw Milk” and proposed revisions for clarity and accuracy, and the HOD made a few tweaks to be further explicit.

The revisions emphasize that nonhuman mammals are the source of milk addressed by the policy and that pathogenic organisms may be difficult to detect. One revision added, “These pathogens can be shed directly from the animals or introduced via environmental contamination during the milking and packaging process.”

Another revision changed the statement that “only pasteurized milk and milk products should be sold” to now state, “The AVMA recommends that fluid nonhuman mammalian milk sold or distributed to consumers be pasteurized and all dairy products be produced under a scientifically validated food safety program.”

The Food Safety Advisory Committee considered the risk associated with consumption of fluid milk specifically and concluded that fluid milk intended for direct consumption should always be pasteurized. However, other dairy products may be able to be produced under a scientifically validated food safety program alternative to pasteurization.

The HOD reference committee that discussed the policy requested that educational materials regarding raw milk be prepared for the public.

The AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents proposed the new policy “Use of Prescription Drugs in Veterinary Medicine,” which supersedes the policies “Guidelines for Veterinary Prescription Drugs,” “Writing Veterinary Prescriptions,” and “Client Requests for Prescriptions.” COBTA proposed the new policy “Adverse Event Reporting,” which supersedes the current policy of the same name and the policy “Vaccinovigilance.”

The council had reviewed several of the existing policies as part of the AVMA’s requirement that policies be reviewed at least every five years. The new policies combine and update existing policies.

The Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee proposed the revisions to the policy “Genetic Modification of Animals in Agriculture.” The final wording includes the addition of the following: “The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is designated as the lead department for the health of all farm-raised animals under the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002. The AVMA believes the USDA should have primary responsibility in matters of genetic modification of farm-raised animals to facilitate innovation, foster commercialization, and manage health and welfare from a One Health standpoint.”

The Food and Drug Administration has been regulating genetic modifications to food animals as drugs.

The Committee on Antimicrobials proposed revisions that now update the policy “Approval and Availability of Antimicrobials for Use in Food-Producing Animals.”

A word from AVMA President ‘Mama Bear’

By R. Scott Nolen

Dr. Lori Teller anticipates spending the next year as AVMA president discussing telehealth, utilization of veterinary staff members, and other professional issues, along with highlighting the benefits of working in veterinary medicine.

In her speech on July 29 at the AVMA House of Delegates’ regular annual session in Philadelphia, Dr. Teller said: “We have real issues that the AVMA continues to address and tackle. We also have much to celebrate, and I want to make sure we remember that, too.

“So, when I have the opportunity to meet with you and our colleagues, be sure to tell me about your concerns, and be sure to share with me your joys and accomplishments because I also want to celebrate those, as well.”

Dr. Teller is a clinical associate professor of telehealth at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, from which she graduated in 1990. In 2021, she was elected as the 2021-22 AVMA president-elect in the first women-only race for president-elect in the Association’s history.

A diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in canine and feline practice, Dr. Teller practiced for several years at Meyerland Animal Clinic in Houston before joining the TAMU faculty in 2018. She was a founding board member of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative and is a former chair of the AVMA Board of Directors.

The AVMA is not “an obscure wizard hiding behind a curtain,” Dr. Teller said in her speech, but rather is an organization of imperfect yet well-meaning individuals working on behalf of veterinarians, the animals they care for, and the profession.

“The AVMA is here to protect, promote, and advance the veterinary profession,” she explained. “This is what we do every single day, and we are really good at it because our focus is on you, the veterinarian.”

Humans are complicated creatures, and veterinarians are more than their job, Dr. Teller added, before encouraging her colleagues to embrace their nonveterinarian side. “Nourishing all parts of our complicated selves makes us better veterinarians—and better people,” she said.

“So, from one human being to another, let’s work together to be role models for well-being, for dignity, for kindness, and for respect,” Dr. Teller said in her speech. “As I represent the AVMA in the coming year, I hope I can be the epitome of that.”


Dr. Lori Teller speaks during the regular annual session of the AVMA House of Delegates, held July 28-29 in conjunction with AVMA Convention 2022 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Malinda Larkin)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

Dr. Teller concluded her address with a shoutout to mothers and a warning. “For the moms, those who live with a mom, and those who have or have had a mom or mother figure in your life: Moms are the best multitaskers on the planet. We get stuff done. We feel all the feelings, not only our own, but those of our nearest and dearest. We feel the greatest joy when our child accomplishes a goal and the deepest pain when our child is hurt.

“But do you know what happens when someone threatens our child? We go all mama bear on them. Have you ever seen an angry mother—or an angry bear? Get out of the way!

“As president of the AVMA and its first mom, I will work hard to build bridges, increase our collaborative efforts, and continue to focus on improving veterinary medicine for all of us. But I promise you, when someone threatens our profession, have no fear, because Mama Bear is here.”

Carlson chosen as AVMA president-elect

Dr. Jennifer Quammen is 2022-24 AVMA vice president after uncontested election

Story and photos by Malinda Larkin

Dr. Rena Carlson, a former AVMA Board of Directors chair, won the race for 2022-23 AVMA president-elect at AVMA Convention 2022 in Philadelphia on July 29 against Dr. Grace Bransford, a former AVMA vice president.

Dr. Carlson, a 1989 veterinary graduate of Washington State University, received a majority of votes from the AVMA House of Delegates. She will succeed Dr. Lori Teller as AVMA president next summer during AVMA Convention 2023 in Denver.

Later in the day, Dr. Carlson gave her acceptance speech to the HOD. She was joined by her husband, Brad Lammers.

“There are so many challenges, but we have so many opportunities, and I’m very excited to help with each challenge,” she said. “It’s an honor to work with the Board of Directors, with the House of Delegates, and with AVMA staff and really support and advance the important initiatives they are working on.”

In 1993, Dr. Carlson became co-owner of Alpine Animal Hospital in Pocatello, Idaho, which grew into a mixed animal practice employing six practitioners. She sold her practice in 2018 and has since worked as a relief veterinarian as well as a general practice mentor for National Veterinary Associates.

Dr. Carlson has held numerous positions with the Eastern Idaho VMA and Idaho VMA. She served in the AVMA HOD as the Idaho alternate delegate and delegate for 10 years. Dr. Carlson served on the AVMA Board from 2014-20, with her final year on the Board as chair.


Dr. Rena Carlson

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419


Dr. Jennifer Quammen

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

She will spend the coming year as AVMA president-elect.

Dr. Jennifer Quammen was elected as the 2022-24 AVMA vice president. She was the sole candidate for the position.

Dr. Quammen is a 2011 veterinary graduate of The Ohio State University and an alumna of the AVMA Future Leaders Program. She has served on a number of AVMA entities, including the Council on Veterinary Service, the Practice Advisory Panel, and the Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee.

She asked in her acceptance speech before the HOD in Philadelphia: “How do we encourage and improve the well-being of ourselves, our students, our technicians, and our programs overall? And, really, how do we ultimately help more patients and more clients? Those are things that are near and dear to me.”

She added, “I would like to say thanks so much, and I’m looking forward to a great couple of years.”


Four new members joined the AVMA Council on Education this summer. The AVMA Council on Education Selection Committee appointed Dr. James McDonald of Camp Verde, Arizona, to represent private mixed clinical practice. The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges’ Council on Education Selection Committee appointed Dr. Peter Constable of Urbana, Illinois, to represent the AAVMC and Dr. Jesse Hostetter of Athens, Georgia, to represent postgraduate education. And the Council on Education appointed Dr. Barbara Engel of Philadelphia to represent the public.

Three candidates vie for AVMA’s top spot

Their yearlong campaign for 2023-24 AVMA president-elect started July 29

Story and photos by Malinda Larkin

The race for 2023-24 AVMA president-elect will have plenty of competition as three individuals have announced their candidacy for the position—the first time in recent memory.

Dr. Sandra Faeh Butler, 2020-22 AVMA vice president; Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, 2017-23 AVMA treasurer; and Dr. Robert Murtaugh, a former chair of the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties, launched their campaigns July 29 during the regular annual session of the AVMA House of Delegates in Philadelphia, which took place in conjunction with AVMA Convention 2022.


Dr. Faeh, of River Forest, Illinois, serves as National Veterinary Associates’ first mentor in its Clinical Mentorship Program and is helping to develop this national program.


Dr. Sandra Faeh Butler

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

She is a 1996 veterinary graduate of the University of Illinois, previously serving as president of the Student AVMA. Dr. Faeh has also served as president of the Illinois State VMA and Chicago VMA.

She represented Illinois as an alternate delegate and delegate to the AVMA HOD from 2012-20, including a term as chair of the AVMA House Advisory Committee.

Dr. Faeh said in her remarks that in every part of their lives, people rely on different tools and resources to perform their jobs and function to the best of their abilities with whatever tasks or project they are tackling. Her goal is always to help others use their tools to ensure as smooth a process as possible and help simplify complex situations.

“For me, the definition of a true leader is not to show up with a list of things they want to accomplish, to not show up with an agenda,” Dr. Faeh said. “A leader is someone who identifies problems or challenges and uses the tools that are available. If elected, I will listen, and I will guide, and together we will be the avenue to solutions.”


Dr. Goldman, of Canton, Connecticut, has owned and operated Canton Animal Hospital since 1995.

He is a 1986 veterinary graduate of the University of Florida and earned a master’s in public health in 2011 from the University of Minnesota.


Dr. Arnold L. Goldman

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

Dr. Goldman has served as president of the Hartford County VMA, Connecticut VMA, and New England VMA. He also has served as Connecticut delegate and alternate delegate to the AVMA HOD from 2011-17.

Dr. Goldman said in his speech before the HOD that in the course of his service on AVMA committees, in the House, and on the AVMA Board of Directors as treasurer, certain themes repeatedly surfaced that embody the unique essence of the veterinary profession: unity, professionalism, and service.

“As your president-elect and president, I will tirelessly promote these values as the basis of who we are,” he said. “Unity among us is essential for success in preserving our profession’s vital standing throughout society.

“We must also strive to preserve our public image as professionals. Doing so requires cultivation and reinforcing the characteristics of professionalism, competence, conscientiousness, honesty, respect for clients and colleagues, and emotional intelligence. …

“Finally, we deeply value our reputation for caring and our acknowledgment of our duty of service. It’s what makes our profession unique, revered by the public, and is the essence of the Veterinarian’s Oath.”


Dr. Murtaugh, of Wimberley, Texas, joined Pathway Vet Alliance, now Thrive Pet Healthcare, in 2015 as partner and chief medical officer. He is currently chief professional relations officer.

He is a 1980 veterinary graduate of the University of Minnesota.


Dr. Robert Murtaugh

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419

Dr. Murtaugh was chief of staff for two years at the nonprofit DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon, before he joined VCA Animal Hospital in 2000.

He is a diplomate of both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care. He has served as president of ACVECC and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.

He said in his remarks to the HOD that the challenges to the profession are many and that its landscape has changed significantly in the past few decades since he first became a veterinarian.

“Our AVMA needs to be the lead on access-to-care solutions as it has been on other pressing issues, such as well-being, student debt, and diversity and inclusion,” Dr. Murtaugh said

He cited potential solutions as telemedicine, exploring and increasing greater utilization of foreign-trained veterinarians, increasing enrollment of veterinary students and veterinary technician students in educational programs, introducing a midlevel practitioner, and “eliminating the rigidity that has crept into the training of specialists.”


Dr. Ronald E. Gill was elected 2022-23 AVMA Board of Directors chair during the Board’s July 31 meeting in Philadelphia. Dr. Charles Lemme was elected 2022-23 Board vice chair.

Dr. Gill joined the Board in 2017, representing District VI, which covers AVMA members living in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Dr. Gill, a 1975 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, owns Three Rivers Veterinary Clinic in West Salem, Illinois.

Dr. Gill has served on multiple entities within the AVMA, including the Council on Veterinary Service and the Governance Performance Review Committee, both of which he chaired for two years. He was also vice chair of the Council on Education.

As AVMA Board vice chair, Dr. Lemme will substitute for Dr. Gill in his absence and perform other duties as prescribed by the Board or the chair.

Dr. Lemme joined the Board in 2018. He represents District VII for the Board, which encompasses Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

He is a 1975 veterinary graduate of Iowa State University. In 1985, Dr. Lemme and his family moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he bought a small animal practice and practiced until his retirement in 2018.

Dr. Lemme’s involvement with the AVMA began when he was selected to be the American Animal Hospital Association representative on the AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee to the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents.

Dr. Lemme also served as the Iowa alternate delegate and delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates for six years before joining the Board.


Dr. Ronald E. Gill

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419


Dr. Charles Lemme

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 12; 10.2460/javma.260.12.1419


At its regular annual session in July, the AVMA House of Delegates elected individuals to AVMA councils and the House Advisory Committee. The results are as follows.

Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents

Dr. Kim Cronin, Carlisle, Massachusetts, at-large representative; Ignacio Correas, Kalamazoo, Michigan, representing immunology

Council on Public Health

Drs. Karyn Bischoff, Lansing, New York; Mariah Zeigler, Carefree, Arizona; Wendy Beauvais, West Lafayette, Indiana, representing human health

Council on Research

Drs. Jessica Bertout, Bellevue, Washington, and Annette O’Connor, Okemos, Michigan, representing veterinary medical research

Council on Veterinary Service

Dr. Stewart Silverman, Brookline, Massachusetts, at-large representative; Dr. Stanley Robertson, Macon, Mississippi, representing academic clinical science; Kenichiro Yagi, Ithaca, New York, representing credentialed veterinary technicians; Dr. Julie Sanders, Clayton, New Jersey, representing recent graduates or emerging leaders

House Advisory Committee

Drs. Stuart Brown, Versailles, Kentucky; Diana Thome, Richland, Washington; Libby Todd, Birmingham, Alabama

At the subsequent HAC meeting, members of the advisory committee elected Dr. William Grant, Anaheim, California, as chair.



The Alabama VMA held its annual meeting at the Emerald Coast Veterinary Conference from June 1-5, 2022, in Miramar Beach, Florida. The new ALVMA officials are Drs. Frances P. Kendrick, Selmer, president; Bradley Harris, Dothan, president-elect; Babette D. Authement, Fairhope, vice president; Susan Parsons, McCalla, treasurer; Steven T. Murphree, Cullman, immediate past president; and Jim Lovell, Athens, member at large.


The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture held its annual meeting from April 8-10, 2022, in Memphis, Tennessee. The new AAVA officials are Drs. Matthew E. Fricke, Springfield, Oregon, president; Bonnie Wright, Johnstown, Colorado, vice-elect; Carol Gifford, Columbus, Ohio, secretary-treasurer; Lori Bidwell, Georgetown, Kentucky, immediate past president; and directors—Drs. Shantel Julius, Hastings, Minnesota; Leslie Phillips, Grass Valley, California; Beth Innis, Arrington, Massachusetts; Ann-Marie Aumann, Escondido, California; and Mitsie Vargas, Winter Haven, Florida.


The Florida VMA held its annual conference from March 17-20, 2022, in Orlando. The new FVMA officials are Drs. Marta P. Lista, West Miami, president; Jacqueline S. Shellow, Cooper City, president-elect; Steve Steverson, Inverness, treasurer; Mary Smart, Bradenton, immediate past president; and AVMA delegate and alternate delegate—Drs. Ernest C. Godfrey, Pinellas Park, and Richard B. Williams, Jacksonville.

Visit avma.org/news/community to read the full reports, including awards.


Want to get the rest of the story? The AVMA digital newsroom is the place to go for extended versions of many of the news articles in this month’s issue. Visit avma.org/news to see these articles in addition to online-only news stories. If you haven’t been there, here are a few headlines you’ve missed:

  • Tragedy of Russian war ‘evidenced in every encounter’

  • PetSmart franchising in-store veterinary practices

  • Bureau of Land Management report details factors in 146 wild horse deaths

  • Gene therapy may soon help treat mitral valve disease

In Memory


Dr. Agle (Ohio State ’60), 85, South Vienna, Ohio, died May 6, 2022. A large animal and equine practitioner, he began his career in Springfield, Ohio. He established a practice in Plattsburg, Ohio, relocating later to the family farm near South Vienna. After partially retiring, he worked part time at Buckeye Veterinary Service, owned by his son, Dr. J. Larry Agle (Ohio State ’92) in Ohio’s Geauga County. Dr. John Agle is survived by his wife, Carolyn; his son and two daughters; and five grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Plattsburg United Church of Christ, P.O. Box 699, South Charleston, OH 45368.


Dr. Bachman (Pennsylvania ’57), 91, Bradenton, Florida, died April 26, 2022. He practiced small animal medicine in Mount Chestnut, Pennsylvania, for 40 years. Dr. Bachman was a past member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine. He volunteered with the Connoquenessing Meals on Wheels program. Dr. Bachman is survived by a son and a daughter; five grandchildren; and two brothers and a sister. Memorials may be made to the Trinity Memorial Fund, 120 Sunset Drive, Butler, PA 16001.


Dr. DeRhodes (Ohio State ’60), 88, Homeworth, Ohio, died July 2, 2022. He owned a small animal practice in Canton, Ohio, for 37 years prior to retirement. Dr. DeRhodes was a member of the board of directors of the Stark County Humane Society for 45 years, serving as president from 1984-88. His two daughters and six grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Stark County Humane Society, P.O. Box 7077, Canton, OH 44705.


Dr. Drum (Iowa State ’59), 88, Remsen, Iowa, died May 30, 2022. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Remsen, retiring in 1996. Dr. Drum was a member of the Iowa and Interstate VMAs. He was a past president of the Remsen Lions Club and Remsen Union School Board. Dr. Drum’s wife, Marilyn; two sons and a daughter; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him.


Dr. Kearney (Texas A&M ’64), 88, Killeen, Texas, died Dec. 27, 2021. He was the former owner of Killeen Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Kearney was a past chair of the Killeen Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of directors of the Killeen Independent School District. His wife, Rexanna; a daughter and a son; four grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him.

Clark Kelly

Dr. Kelly (Colorado State ’59), 88, San Diego, died June 15, 2022. Following graduation, he served as a captain in the Air Force for four years. Dr. Kelly later bought Boulevard Animal Clinic in San Diego, where he worked for 57 years. Per his suggestion, the AVMA reworded the Veterinarian’s Oath, changing the wording “conservation of livestock resources” to “conservation of all animal resources.” Dr. Kelly is survived by his wife, Kelly; two daughters; three grandchildren; and a brother. A daughter, Dr. Karen M. Kelly (Iowa State ’95) and his brother, Dr. Monte Kelly (Colorado State ’71), are also veterinarians.

Richard F. Kilburn

Dr. Kilburn (Iowa State ’68), 77, Scottsdale, Arizona, died April 23, 2022. He was the founder of County Line Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Naperville, Illinois. Dr. Kilburn also helped establish an emergency veterinary hospital in Lisle, Illinois, serving on its board of directors for several years. He was a member of the Chicago VMA and a past president of the Naperville Evening Kiwanis. Dr. Kilburn helped found the Kiwanis Club of Warrenville. He attained the title of lieutenant governor with the Kiwanis. Dr. Kilburn’s wife, Mary; a son; five grandchildren; and two sisters survive him.


Dr. Kimberling (Colorado State ’59), 91, Fort Collins, Colorado, died June 21, 2022. From 1965-2005, he was a member of the veterinary faculty at Colorado State University. He served as a professor and as CSU extension veterinarian, focusing on herd health management for dairy cattle, range beef cattle, and range sheep. In 2012, he received what is now known as the AVMA Global Veterinary Service Award. A veteran of the Army, he served during the Korean War. He is survived by his daughter, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to McBackpack Inc., P.O. Box 2082, Fort Collins, CO 80522; First Presbyterian Church, 531 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80524, pushpay.com/g/firstpresfc; Colorado State University Office of Engagement and Extension, 202 Administration Building, 1050 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, jav.ma/CSUextension; or Food Bank for Larimer County, 5706 Wright Drive, Loveland, CO 80538, jav.ma/FoodBank.


Dr. Lang (Illinois ’86), 66, Reno, Nevada, died June 26, 2022. He owned a small animal practice in Palatine, Illinois, for 14 years prior to retirement. Following graduation, Dr. Lang worked in Oahu, Hawaii. He then moved to Illinois, practicing in the lakeshore area and on the Northwest Side of Chicago and in Lincolnshire. Dr. Lang’s wife, Maria; two sons; two grandchildren; and a brother survive him.


Dr. Levy (Pennsylvania ’77), 73, Evans, Georgia, died May 27, 2022. He practiced in Guilford, Connecticut, then bought Durham Veterinary Hospital in Durham, Connecticut. In 1986, he diagnosed the first case of canine Lyme carditis. He worked for humane societies and coordinated the veterinary technology program at Middlesex Community College. He received the AVMA Practitioner Research Award and helped establish the Durham Animal Response Team. His wife, Diane; a daughter; two grandchildren; and a brother survive him. Memorials toward the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research may be sent to Donation Processing, Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741, michaeljfox.org.


Dr. Manus (Ohio State ’62), 85, Kalamazoo, Michigan, died June 14, 2022. He retired from MPI Research in Mattawan, Michigan, where he served as director of clinical medicine and attending veterinarian. Dr. Manus was a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. His wife, Helen; a son and a daughter; a grandchild; and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to the American Legion, Donation Processing, P.O. Box 1954, Indianapolis, IN 46206.


Dr. Messer (Colorado State ’71), 77, Columbia, Missouri, died June 7, 2022. He joined the veterinary faculty at Colorado State University and later served as director of internal medicine at what is now Littleton Equine Medical Center in Littleton, Colorado. He then moved to the University of Missouri as an associate professor of equine medicine and surgery, retiring as a professor emeritus. He is survived by his wife, Penny; a son, a stepson, and a stepdaughter; and five grandchildren and four stepgrandchildren. Memorials may be made to The Foundation for the Horse, 4033 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511, foundationforthehorse.org.


Dr. Meza, 90, McGaheysville, Virginia, died May 23, 2022. A 1962 veterinary graduate of the University of Chile, he worked for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services prior to retirement. Earlier, Dr. Meza worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Known for his expertise in poultry virology and diagnostics, he was a member of the American Association of Avian Pathologists. Dr. Meza’s wife, Marta; two daughters and three sons; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the McGaheysville Rescue Squad, 80 Stover Drive, McGaheysville, VA 22840.


Dr. Serra (Oklahoma State ’60), 87, Overland Park, Kansas, died Dec. 18, 2021. Following graduation and after completing an internship at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, he began his 44-year career in Overland Park, focusing on small and exotic animals. Dr. Serra retired in 2005. He bred and showed dogs and fancy pigeons and raised and showed Arabian horses. Dr. Serra is survived by his wife, Loretta Sue; a son and two daughters; seven grandchildren; and a sister. Memorials may be made to The Nature Conservancy, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203, jav.ma/NatureConservancy.


Dr. Thies (Texas A&M ’77), 67, San Jose, California, died April 20, 2022. Following graduation, he worked in California at Campbell and Los Gatos before establishing a house call practice. In 2002, Dr. Thies bought Oak Grove Veterinary Hospital in San Jose, where he practiced small animal medicine prior to retirement. He is survived by his wife, Tammy, and his family.


Dr. Vernimb (Pennsylvania ’56), 91, Dagsboro, Delaware, died April 19, 2022. Following graduation, he worked at a primarily large animal practice in Randolph, Vermont. In 1964, he joined what was known as Norwich Pharmaceutical Co. in Norwich, New York. From 1972 until retirement in 1996, he worked in the Animal Health Division of Schering-Plough in Kenilworth, New Jersey. His wife, Ruth; two sons and a daughter; and two grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Veterinary Student Scholarship Fund, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, 3800 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, giving.apps.upenn.edu, or the Vermont Scholarship Fund, University of Vermont Foundation, 411 Main St., Burlington, VT 05401, uvmfoundation.org.

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