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IN SHORT

NC State, Purdue professors to join National Academy of Inventors

Kenneth Adler, PhD, professor of cell biology at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, and Masanobu Yamamoto, adjunct professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, will be inducted as fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. The organization, which made the announcement December 12, 2023, comprises more than 4,600 members and 1,898 fellows.

Adler is a biomedical scientist who has spent decades investigating respiratory disorders and, specifically, the problem of excess inflammation that occurs. His work has resulted in 10 national patents and four international patents.

Masanobu Yamamoto is the chief technology officer for Miftek Corp., a company in Purdue’s Technology Research Park, in addition to his faculty position in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

He is the holder of close to 100 U.S. and 220 Japanese patents. During his 40-year career at Sony, Yamamoto was a key developer in optical components, including Blu-ray technology, and later led a team that established the life science division of Sony, which used optical technology for use in biosciences.

The fellows will be honored at the NAI 13th Annual Meeting on June 18th, 2024, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

FDA warns manufacturers, distributors of unapproved antimicrobials for animals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 14, 2023, announced it has issued nine warning letters to manufacturers and distributors of unapproved and misbranded medically important antimicrobial animal drugs for violating federal law.

The drugs referenced in the warning letters are marketed and labeled for minor species, such as aquarium fish and pet birds, the FDA said in a statement. They contain antimicrobials that are important in human medicine, such as amoxicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, and erythromycin, which were being illegally marketed over the counter.

The following companies received warning letters: American Aquarium Products, Aquanest Biotic, Aquarium Pharmacy, California Veterinary Supply, Chewy, Kraft Drug, Midland Veterinary Services, Silver Lease, and Valley Veterinary Clinic.

The FDA has asked these companies to respond to the warning letters within 15 days of receipt to state how they will address the violations cited in the warning letters. Failure to address the violations promptly may result in the FDA’s legal action, including product seizure or injunction—a court order requiring a company to stop manufacturing and distributing unapproved products.

New drug calms cats during transportation, veterinary visits

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this November approved Bonqat, a nerve pain medication for cats to alleviate acute anxiety and fear associated with transportation and veterinary visits.

Bonqat is the first FDA-approved animal drug containing pregabalin, which is used in human medicine as an anticonvulsant and to treat neural pain.

The drug is administered orally as a single dose of 5 mg/kg (0.1mL/kg) approximately 1.5 hours before traveling or a veterinary visit and can be given for two consecutive days, according to a November 17, 2023, announcement by the FDA.

Bonqat, from Finnish drug maker Orion Corp., is only available by prescription from a licensed veterinarian because it is a Schedule Class V drug.Adverse reactions related to Bonqat included mild sedation, ataxia, and lethargy.

Appropriate precautions should be taken while handling Bonqat, the FDA warned, including avoiding contact with a person’s skin, eyes, and other mucus membranes. People exposed to pregabalin should seek medical advice and may experience dizziness, sleepiness, blurred vision, weakness, dry mouth, and difficulty with concentration or attention.

Eliminating in-person VCPR requirement for telemedicine, proposed midlevel position discussed at information forum

Veterinarians, patients would see more risk than reward with proposed changes

By Malinda Larkin

Some proposals for change in the veterinary profession that have garnered attention in the past few years would create more risk than reward. One is the idea of a midlevel position (MLP) that would overlap the roles of the veterinarian and veterinary technician. It remains unclear what the scope of practice would be and how it would address workforce shortages. The other proposal is to eliminate the requirement to establish a veterinarian-technician-patient relationship (VCPR) in person for telemedicine, which has been adopted in very few states.

These topics were discussed during the AVMA House of Delegates’ (HOD) Veterinary Information Forum, which took place during the HOD’s regular winter session, held in conjunction with the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, January 5-6 in Chicago.

Several AVMA staff, allied organization leaders, and subject matter experts presented on these topics, as well as on future veterinary workforce needs and approaches to addressing recruitment and retention challenges in specific segments of the profession.

Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA CEO, explained it is important for the profession to have diverse voices talk about these topics, as well as accurate information and reliable data.

“The challenge is, when it gets in the legislative arena, if (legislators) don’t have good accurate information there, crazy things can happen,” she said. “It is up to you as veterinary leaders to make sure your state hears good, accurate information.”

Future veterinary workforce needs

“Unfortunately, suggestions of crisis-level shortages,” said Dr. Gail Golab, associate EVP and chief veterinary officer, “that are based on calculations using challenging single proxy variables and without consideration of context, have precipitated broad-reaching proposals for changes in how veterinary medicine is delivered and regulated; for example, a midlevel position and relaxing the VCPR. These proposals pose substantial risks to animal health and welfare, as well as to public health.”

Large-scale, disruptive macroeconomic events over the past several years have challengesd the veterinary profession: The Great Recession of 2007 and the COVID-19 pandemic. The former decreased demand for veterinary services, while the other increased it for companion animals; but both temporarily.

While national veterinary practice revenue increased an average of 5.7% between August 2021 and August 2023, client visits fell 2.7% during the same time period.

“Recent data and analyses show pandemic tailwinds falling away, continuing macroeconomic uncertainty, and increasing value-seeking behavior on the part of consumers. This suggests a medium to longer term moderation of demand for companion animal veterinary services,” Dr. Golab said.

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Tangible actions can be taken today that will have immediate and long-term positive impacts on the veterinary workforce, said Dr. Gail Golab, associate EVP and chief veterinary officer, during the AVMA House of Delegates’ Veterinary Information Forum (VIF). This includes fully leveraging veterinary technicians. (Photos by R. Scott Nolen)

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

Demand for veterinary services and demand for veterinarians are related, but they are different, she said. Veterinary economists consider there to be four distinct, but interrelated veterinary markets—the market for veterinary education, the market for veterinarians, the market for animals, and the market for veterinary services.

When considering future workforce needs, a key question is how demand for veterinary services translates into demand for veterinarians. This translation is impacted by the extent to which the veterinarian-led team is leveraged, operational system and process efficiency, and how technology is used.

“The estimates currently circulating around veterinary workforce needs have been derived by using the veterinary services revenue compound annual growth rate as a proxy for demand. This is a challenging choice because, among other things, it doesn’t consider the impacts of price and service type,” Dr. Golab said. “As an example, while one veterinary visit may contribute $100 of revenue and another may contribute $500 of revenue, that doesn’t mean that the second veterinary visit requires five veterinarians, rather than one veterinarian, to deliver the services involved.”

Then, when looking at the supply of veterinarians, it appears the next several years will see an inflection point in the growth rate of new veterinarians.

In addition to recent unprecedented growth in the number of veterinary college seats at existing colleges, three new colleges have been added to the roster, veterinary colleges have close to doubled their cohorts to produce additional graduates this decade, and at least 12 new veterinary colleges are in various stages of development. The cumulative effect of these changes will be a significant increase in the number of veterinarians entering the workforce into the 2030s.

Dr. Golab said some sectors of the profession have unique and long-standing barriers to attracting and retaining veterinary professionals, including emergency practice; specialty practice; shelter practice; academia; rural practice, particularly food animal and equine; and public health. Workforce challenges in these practice areas have continued despite times of excess capacity.

In addressing solutions, Dr. Golab said, “There are tangible actions that can be taken today that will have immediate and long-term positive impacts on the veterinary workforce. These include fully leveraging the veterinarian-led team, especially veterinary technicians; focusing on improvements to workplace culture, increasing staff retention to create operational continuity, closing system and process efficiency gaps, and the responsible adoption of technology. For practice types with long-standing challenges, collaborative efforts designed to address sector-specific needs are key.”

Midlevel position

The proposed MLP would overlap the training and responsibilities of veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Proponents envision that these individuals would be able to diagnose, formulate treatment plans, prescribe, and perform surgeries and other procedures.

For instance, in the current legislative session, there is a bill introduced in Florida that, if enacted, would allow an individual with a master’s degree to perform sterilization procedures and dental procedures under indirect supervision. Dr. Kent McClure, AVMA associate executive vice-president and chief advocacy officer, said, “This means someone with a master’s degree could be performing major abdominal surgery under the supervision of a veterinarian who is on the telephone.”

Proponents also argue such a position would address an increasing demand for companion animal services and labor shortages. He referenced a recent AVMA survey of pet owners showing that, nationally, 76% of pet owners can see a veterinarian for routine care or minor issues in less than a week. Additionally, the study showed that 78% of pet owners can get emergency care in two hours or less, with almost half being less than an hour. The study also showed that eight out of 10 (79%) pet owners want a licensed veterinarian to be in charge of their pet’s care.

Dr. McClure indicated that the formation of a MLP would not be a quick fix for any workforce issue. Changes to laws in all 50 states and other jurisdictions, as well as changes to federal law and regulations, would all be necessary.

For example, he said, federal law requires on-label use of prescription drugs to be under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian, and they may only be dispensed by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian in the course of their professional practice.

For extralabel drug use, the veterinarian must have also conducted a physical examination of the animal or have made medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.

Additionally, current proposals to establish a MLP would place the legal responsibility for any of the MLP’s acts or omissions on the supervising veterinarian. According to Dr. McClure, information from the professional liability program sponsored by the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust (AVMA PLIT) shows that the top drivers for malpractice claims against companion animal veterinarians are spays and neuters, dental procedures, adverse anesthetic events, and drug errors.

Entrusting these procedures that carry the highest legal risk to a person who has less education than a veterinarian, and making the veterinarian responsible for any and all of their errors would be misguided, he said.

Telemedicine and the veterinarian-client-patient relationship

Offering telemedicine can be a great way for veterinary clinics to strengthen relationships among practices, clients, and patients as well as improve continuity in patient care and enhance practice efficiency. It is a valuable tool for veterinarians, explained Dr. Lori Teller, AVMA’s immediate past president and clinical professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

She explained that teleadvice—which provides animal owners with basic answers to questions and preventive care education—and teletriage—which is used to determine whether an animal needs to be seen by a veterinarian and with what urgency, do not require a VCPR. Telemedicine, Dr. Teller further clarified, is used to provide patient-specific recommendations and follow-up, including owner compliance, with a recommended treatment plan and requires a VCPR.

“There’s so much we learn from the initial visit, if we go to the premise or the patient comes to us,” Dr. Teller said. “We can collect diagnostic samples and see how the owner or caretaker interacts with animals.”

Addressing some external pressures on states to relax their VCPR laws, Dr. Teller said this would be misguided. That’s because eliminating the initial in-person visit increases veterinarians’ risk for misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, inappropriate treatment—meaning inappropriate prescribing of medications, including antimicrobials and controlled substances.

Federal requirements also apply. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said veterinarians need to do an in-person examination or premise visit before prescribing extralabel—which is extremely common in veterinary practice, including compounded products—and when issuing veterinary feed directives (VFD). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires an in-person visit for issuing certificates of veterinary inspection and when evaluating and testing for certain diseases. It becomes confusing for veterinarians and for clients when states take an alternate route, said Dr. Teller

Currently, 43 states mirror language from the FDA and 22 states have language prohibiting VCPR from being established virtually.

Proponents of eliminating the in-person VCPR requirement have said telemedicine can help increase access to care. Dr. Teller agreed that while it can be a component of improving access to care—once the relationship has been established—most animals that do not receive regular care have acute issues that need to be addressed with an in-person visit.

“Having people, especially those with limited financial means, pay for a telemedicine visit, when they need to be sent to the veterinarian anyway, actually increases the financial burden on them and leaves less funds available to follow up on diagnostic and treatment recommendations that are provided,” Dr. Teller said.

She is part of a project at Texas A&M that provides in-person care people and their pets in underserved communities and then uses telemedicine to follow up and do remote patient monitoring. Dr. Teller said mobile veterinary options, that can incorporate telemedicine for follow-up, are a much better option for these clients and patients.

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Dr. Lori Teller, AVMA’s immediate past president and clinical professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says telemedicine can be a component of improving access to care but most animals that do not receive regular care have acute issues that need to be addressed with an in-person visit.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

Tailored approaches for practice segments

Providing detail on the unique aspects of equine and bovine practices, Drs. Katie Garrett, president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), and Fred Gingrich, executive director of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), spoke about the focused work they are doing to identify and address recruitment and retention barriers.

“Keeping veterinarians in equine practice is perhaps the most significant issue ever faced by our area of the profession,” began Dr. Garrett. Currently only 1.3% of veterinary graduates go directly into equine practice, with another 4.5% going into an equine internship. Yet, 50% leave within the first five years. The reason why? “Salary and lifestyle,” said Dr. Garrett.

The AAEP launched its Commission on Equine Veterinary Sustainability at the end of 2022, with five subcommittees working to address individual “pain points” specific to the equine profession. The commission conducted a salary survey, which provided more accurate information than had been previously available and actionable deliverables to help alleviate the identified pain points.

A best practices guide was developed for optimally hosting an intern, as well as several webinars and training sessions to help practices make the internship experience better for both parties. The commission also developed a toolkit addressing emergency coverage, which is a significant source of stress for equine practitioners.

One subcommittee focused on student recruitment, with the goal of getting equine practitioners into veterinary schools to speak about their personal experiences with practice life. Ultimately, over 200 equine practitioners have participated in the effort, visiting with over 25 AAEP student chapters and preveterinary clubs thus far.

Another important focus of retention is creating a positive workplace culture, and the commission’s practice culture subcommittee identified seven pillars that make up the culture of a particular practice, developing a toolkit complete with actionable resources.

Dr. Garrett added that mentorship is another important to addressing retention, explaining that young equine veterinarians who had been enrolled in mentorship programs showed a much greater likelihood of staying in equine practice. The AAEP has provided tuition assistance to eligible members to participate in mentorship programs, providing support for over 170 young members to date.

Armed with these newly developed resources and accurate information, AAEP is focused on reaching target groups to make progress in these critical areas.

Next, AABP’s Dr. Gingrich addressed workforce challenges in the bovine segment, pointing out that some of the workforce issues currently being experienced in other areas of veterinary practice, such as recruitment, retention, and attrition, are a chronic problem in rural food animal and mixed animal practice, adding that the AABP began attempting to address them nearly 15 years ago.

“Our greatest loss of AABP members occurs within the first five to 10 years after graduation,” he said, “and the No. 1 reason for that loss, based on our survey data, is a migration to companion animal practice.”

There are many opportunities to improve rural practice, such as better pay, more reasonable hours of work, mentoring, safe and inclusive environments, and opportunities for advancement.

The AABP has offered many resources, including a recent graduate conference and practice management workshops to improve financial health and human resources management of rural practice. The AABP recently convened a task force to develop guidelines for how credentialed veterinary technicians can be better leveraged in bovine practice under direct and indirect supervision by veterinarians.

“We believe that there are many opportunities for us to focus our attention on these valued professionals versus a proposed midlevel practitioner, which we do not support,” he said. “In addition, rural veterinarians can be supported by continuing to advocate for the VCPR, the importance of the establishment of this relationship through an in-person visit to the farm and utilizing telemedicine to supplement that established VCPR.”

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Dr. Katie Garrett, president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), detailed efforts by her organization to attract and retain equine veterinarians. Currently, about half leave within the first five years of practice.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

Putting it into perspective

Jack Advent, recently retired executive director of the Ohio VMA, said it was important to talk about all of these issues in a public forum, particularly before they come up before legislators.

“Many of you agree that, for better or for worse, it’s at the state level that many issues are fought, debated, and outcomes determined,” he said “What happens in your state ripples into other states. The implications are at a national level.”

He encouraged delegates and their colleagues to further study these issues and access the existing information and resources available, particularly from the AVMA, which reflects the national brain trust for the profession.

Reaching out to other states and organizations that have already dealt with these issues and learning from their experiences can also prove valuable.

“I am certainly not here to try and convince you as to what position you organization should take on the issues being discussed, but simply that you take the time, individually and collectively as an organization, to engage in thinking, talking, and preparing to provide a foundation for if and when you face issues of substances like these,” Advent said.

Q&A: AVMA Board chair addresses challenges to VCPR, advocacy efforts

Rural workforce shortages, strategic plan also top Board agenda

Interview by R. Scott Nolen

Dr. Charles Lemme was elected chair of the AVMA Board of Directors this past July during AVMA Convention 2023 in Denver. About halfway through his term, he spoke with AVMA News about the Association’s grassroots opposition to a “well-funded” campaign to redefine the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). He also shared other areas of AVMA engagement, including federal advocacy and support for technological advances. The following interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Q. Maintaining a requirement that the VCPR be established in-person before using telemedicine and a newly proposed midlevel veterinary practitioner (MLP) position have occupied much of the AVMA’s attention over the past year. Why are these two issues so important?

A. We are extremely concerned about these issues because their outcomes will affect the health and wellbeing of our patients, and potentially the long-term viability of the veterinary profession. I was a small animal practitioner for over 40 years. To properly diagnose and treat even the routine cases that we see daily, such as skin problems, ear infections, or vomiting and diarrhea, you need to put your hands and eyes on the patient. And, often, diagnostics like cytology are needed. That can’t happen without an in-person visit.

Veterinarians are highly trained to diagnose and treat disease in animals. Any effort to allow lesser-trained individuals to practice veterinary medicine will not result in improved care for animals. We need to continue to work on having veterinary practices fully utilize the skills and training of credentialed veterinary technicians to improve practice efficiency before we even consider making such a radical change to how veterinary care is delivered.

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Dr. Charles Lemme

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

Q. Can you update us on the AVMA’s work in both areas?

A. We are focused on raising awareness across the profession and with the public about the risks to animal and public health if such proposals are adopted. The AVMA has worked with multiple state VMAs to help them lobby against legislation related to both of these issues, has submitted detailed comments in response to legislative and regulatory proposals, and has had volunteer leaders and advocacy staff testify at committee hearings. There are well-funded groups pushing hard on this, so it is going to be a long-term effort.

Q. Related to the VCPR, does the AVMA still support veterinary telemedicine?

A. For sure! When used properly, telemedicine will help veterinary practices work more efficiently and deliver quality patient care. The AVMA is one of the co-founders of the Coalition for Connected Veterinary Care, a group that is focused on raising awareness of the benefits of embracing telehealth, including but not limited to telemedicine, as a tool for veterinary practice. The AVMA was the first organization to develop resources to help members use telehealth in their practices, which can be found on the AVMA website at avma.org/telehealth.

Q. How do you see technological innovations, including telemedicine and artificial intelligence (AI), further impacting veterinary medicine?

A. I think we are seeing some pretty exciting applications of these technologies already. For example, the availability of continuous glucose monitoring has really changed treating a diabetic cat. Similar at-home monitoring for other conditions could make following a case via telemedicine much more effective.

I suspect we will be shocked at how much AI works its way into veterinary practice in coming years, but I think it will be similar to “self-driving” cars—you will still need to have a human (veterinarian) holding onto the steering wheel (managing a case).

Q. Aside from the VCPR and MLP issues, what topics has the Board worked on since your election as chair that members should know about?

A. A major focus through the fall of 2023 was finalizing the Strategic Operating Plan for 2024, making sure that we are putting our resources into priorities that meet member needs and enhance the value of membership.

The Board also met with representatives from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in September to learn about current swine practice, swine education, and the issues they are facing. We also had the opportunity to tour the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) National Animal Disease Center and meet with veterinarians there to learn about the great research they are doing, as well as the workforce and funding challenges they face.

As part of our commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the Association and the profession—and to support a great AVMA program—the Board is doing Journey for Teams modules during our in-person meetings. It has been a great experience so far, and something I would recommend all our members consider using in their practices.

Q. Can you summarize AVMA’s federal advocacy efforts, particularly in areas such as the Farm Bill and Rural veterinary Workforce Act?

A. Well, to even summarize the AVMA’s federal advocacy efforts would fill most of an issue of JAVMA. Our advocacy team does an amazing job of monitoring, supporting, and opposing legislation that affects animal health, One Health, and the practice of veterinary medicine. I served as chair of the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee for a couple years and was able to witness firsthand the tremendous work supporting our profession on behalf of our members.

The Farm Bill contains many priorities for the AVMA and needs to be reauthorized every five years. It authorizes funding for several programs important to the veterinary profession, like the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSPG), Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD), and programs that fund veterinary research. The AVMA advocacy team also works with other stakeholders to ensure continued funding, and in some instances, increased funding for these critical programs.

The Rural Veterinary Workforce Act (formerly known as the VMLRP Enhancement Act) is one that we have been supporting for a few years. It has many co-sponsors and we are hopeful it may move forward in 2024. The bill would remove the awards from the taxable income of the recipient. Under the current law, the USDA is required to pay the tax on behalf of the award recipient out of the funds appropriated for the program. So, eliminating the tax would allow those dollars to support more awards in shortage areas even if the appropriated amount stays at the same level.

Maintaining veterinarians’ access to xylazine suddenly became a priority about a year ago when we learned about legislative proposals to make xylazine a controlled substance. Early discussion included an emergency scheduling as a Schedule 1 drug! The AVMA advocacy team has worked very hard to make sure the veterinary profession’s concerns are addressed. There have been highs and lows as the legislative process has moved, and the AVMA advocacy team is still working hard to get the veterinary profession the best possible outcome, considering the headwinds this has faced.

Q. Is there anything else you want to address?

A. I would like to express my gratitude for having the opportunity to serve on the Board for these last six years, and also for being able to serve on many other volunteer positions with the AVMA, American Animal Hospital Association, and my state association over the last 40 years or so. Each position has been an opportunity to meet great veterinarians from around the country and to learn about things I never would have otherwise. For me, it provided a nice break from the stresses of practice and an opportunity to grow as a person. I would really encourage all of our members to consider volunteering with their state or local association and keep an eye on the AVMA Volunteer Opportunity list. If you see something that looks interesting, let us know and we can help you with the nomination process.

Nation enters third year of HPAI epizootic

Deadly bird flu shows no signs of easing up as USDA continues vaccine trials

By R. Scott Nolen

The largest epizootic of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the nation’s history is entering its third year and is showing no signs of letting up. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to evaluate several vaccines shown in initial studies to protect chickens against the deadly disease. A vaccine for turkeys is also underway. And researchers are looking into why the most recently circulating strain is one of the most virulent to date.

Since January 2022, multiple HPAI viruses have infected tens of millions of wild birds, commercial poultry flocks, and more than two dozen species of terrestrial and marine mammals worldwide. This bird flu panzootic has also spread across Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australia, Europe and even into Antarctica. Subsequent epidemiologic and genetic investigations determined that the Eurasian (EA) H5 and H5N1 subtypes of the HPAI A virus are the cause of most infections.

Species affected

A 2023 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations described the HPAI panzootic as unprecedented in terms of its extensive spread and the number of wild birds and mammals affected. “The devastation caused by this virus underscores the need to prevent new strains from establishing in wild birds and causing further waves of infection,” the report states.

According to World Animal Health Organisation (WOAH) data collected since 2005, HPAI appears to be seasonal, with spread being lowest in September, beginning to rise in October, and peaking in February.

The main wild species involved in the viral cycle of avian influenza are waterfowl, gulls, and shorebirds; however, this clade of the virus seems to pass easily between different bird species, WOAH information states. Direct exposure of farmed birds to wild birds is a likely transmission route. Consequently, limiting farmed poultry exposure to wild birds is critical to lessening the risk of introduction of avian influenza into flocks.

In the United States, HPAI infections have been detected in wild birds in every state but Hawaii. As of December 11, 2023, the virus was confirmed in just over 1,000 commercial and backyard poultry flocks in 47 states, affecting over 72 million birds, according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Mountain lions, striped skunks, red foxes, and harbor seals have contracted the virus as have several outdoor cats.

Canadian government officials in April reported that a domestic dog in Oshawa, Ontario, had tested positive for HPAI. The dog became sick and soon died after chewing on a wild goose carcass.

“The number of documented cases of avian influenza H5N1 in non-avian species, such as cats and dogs, is low, despite the fact that this virus has caused large avian outbreaks globally over the last few years,” the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada stated.

Studying the spread

Like the FAO, Dr. David Swayne, who ran the USDA’s Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia, for two decades, said the current HPAI outbreak is unlike anything seen before. “We have no historical evidence that anything like this has existed previous to this particular outbreak,” said Dr. Swayne, now a consultant on global HPAI control.

He explained that the Eurasian H5 HPAI strain was responsible for the 2014-15 HPAI outbreak, which circulated for several months among poultry flocks before killing its avian hosts. Not so with the latest EA H5 and H5N1 subtypes. Migrating birds from Europe, likely arriving in Canada during the spring of 2021, carried a highly infectious EA virus already lethal to a wide range of bird species.

The first harbinger that the EA HPAI outbreak had reached North America appeared in December 2021 when the virus was identified in a wild great black-backed gull in Newfoundland, Canada. By January 2022, the virus had spread hundreds of miles to South Carolina, where a wild American wigeon tested positive for the EA H5 virus. Then in February 2022, the USDA announced a commercial turkey flock in Dubois, Indiana, had been infected.

Studies as to why the current HPAI virus is infecting far more bird species than previous strains are in the early stages, Dr. Swayne said, and he believes something within the influenza virus’s genetic makeup changed to make it so virulent.

“As far as pinpointing what’s changed about the virus, allowing it to infect so many more diverse species of wild birds than the previous viruses, that’s the big question,” he said.

Another, more positive difference between the 2014-15 and current HPAI outbreaks, is commercial poultry operations are more secure this time around, according to Dr. Swayne. In the years following the 2014-15 outbreak, poultry farms audited their operations to identify and remedy weaknesses in their biosecurity plans and procedures. In a June 2023 report, the USDA APHIS estimated “at least 83 percent of U.S. detections in domestic birds and poultry are consistent with independent point source (wild bird origin) introductions,” meaning the chances of accidental farm-to-farm transmission have been greatly reduced.

Vaccine development, implications

Because of the HPAI outbreak in the U.S., the industry’s ability to export both poultry products and breeding stock has been significantly restricted.

Detection of HPAI in any country or region ceases international trade from that location based on international agreements informed by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) Terrestrial Code.

In October, the French government approved an HPAI vaccine for farmed ducks, becoming the first European nation to do so and after using the vaccine triggered a ban on exports of poultry, duck meat, and foie gras. While the effectiveness of the French vaccination programs has yet to be determined, Dr. Swayne hopes the USDA will soon make an HPAI vaccine approved for poultry available to U.S. producers.

A USDA spokesperson confirmed the department’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has completed initial testing of five HPAI vaccine candidates. ARS scientists evaluated one HPAI vaccine developed in-house by the USDA and four commercial HPAI vaccines. These studies, which are not yet publicly available, showed that the five vaccines reduced oral and cloacal virus shedding significantly and provided near 100% clinical protection in chickens, the spokesperson said.

“ARS scientists have also continued to work on vaccine testing. They will evaluate vaccine efficacy in turkeys and the duration of immunity in several avian species. They have developed and will continue to optimize and validate the diagnostic tests needed with vaccination as well,” the USDA spokesperson said. “These are all longer-term studies. We estimate the turkey efficacy and duration of immunity study results will be available during summer 2024.”

That said, there are potential drawbacks. If countries vaccinate for HPAI, international agreements additionally require distinguishing vaccinated flocks from those exposed to HPAI virus. U.S. poultry vaccination for HPAI could have dramatic and long-lasting impacts on the trade of poultry genetics and poultry products without the ability to make and accept that distinction.

In addition, current vaccines may be relatively efficient at protecting against disease but less effective at eliminating virus shedding, which is a WOAH requirement. More research is needed to identify vaccine candidates and strategies that satisfy international trade protocols.

For now, biosecurity is the best defense against HPAI, and USDA strongly encourages all bird owners to review the department’s resources on managing wildlife to prevent avian influenza, evaluate their biosecurity plans, and develop a strategy to prevent any exposure to wild birds or their droppings.

“Vaccination doesn’t replace biosecurity,” Dr. Swayne said. “If you have good biosecurity, and you only have little bits of the virus getting through, the vaccine gives you a very good prevention of infection.”

Chewy to open veterinary practices in Florida, Colorado

Online pet supply retailer Chewy announced December 14, 2023, it will be opening veterinary clinics in 2024.

The company is launching a handful of practices under the brand name “Chewy Vet Care,” with the first location to open in South Florida early next year. The clinics will offer services including routine appointments, urgent care, and surgery.

Listings on the Chewy Vet Care website show veterinarian, veterinary technician, and veterinary staff positions in Plantation, Florida—where the company is headquartered—and Denver.

The practices will use Chewy’s online platform that also works with the Chewy Vet Care website or third-party partner practices, according to the press release.

“Expanding into veterinary care is the natural next step in Chewy’s evolution and we are excited to bring our customer-forward thinking to our veterinarians and practice team,” said Mita Malhotra, president of Chewy Health, in the release, adding that the company worked with veterinarians and customers to design the new concept.

Chewy.com was the online shop with the highest e-commerce net sales selling pet supplies in the U.S., with a revenue of $10 billion in 2022, according to Statista.

Moving into the veterinary healthcare space is something for which Chewy, founded in 2011, has already been laying the groundwork. In October 2020, the company launched its medication compounding and telehealth service, “Connect with a Vet.” It allows pet owners to connect with a licensed veterinarian to “get answers to commonly asked questions, receive advice, discuss concerns they might have regarding the health and wellness of their pet, and obtain referrals to their local veterinarians or emergency clinics,” according to its fiscal year 2022 annual report.

In 2021, it launched Practice Hub, an e-commerce offering for veterinarians that can integrate with practice information management systems (PIMS), which the company says over 1,000 veterinary practices now use. Then in 2022, Chewy launched its pet insurance offering, CarePlus, and acquired Petabyte, a cloud-based services provider for the veterinary sector.

“We provide customers with what we believe is a one-stop shop for their prescription and special diet needs with our over-the-counter and veterinarian diet offerings and Chewy Pharmacy products,” according to the annual report. “In recent years, we have expanded our products and services to advance our mission to be the most trusted resource for pet parents and veterinarians alike, and to make pet healthcare more affordable and accessible to pet parents. We believe that we share a common goal of pet health and wellness with the veterinarian community, and we will continue to utilize our strengths to enhance partnerships with customers and veterinarians alike.”

At the same time, Chewy has previously lobbied, and received pushback from veterinarians, for federal legislation that would require a veterinarian to provide a client with a written prescription for a companion animal’s medication, whether the client requests it or not.

“If the number of veterinarians who refuse to authorize prescriptions to our pharmacy staff increases, or if veterinarians are successful in discouraging pet owners from purchasing from us, our sales could decrease and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected,” the report states.

The company acknowledged in the same report that “We compete directly and indirectly with veterinarians for the sale of pet medications and other health products. Veterinarians hold a competitive advantage because many pet owners may find it more convenient or preferable to purchase prescription medications directly from their veterinarians at the time of an office visit.”

Massachusetts VMA Presents awards

The Massachusetts VMA (MVMA) held a celebration on October 28 in Cape Cod to honor the recipients of its Distinguished Service and Merit awards.

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Dr. Ilene Segal

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

Dr. Ilene Segal (Tufts ’87), Norfolk, won the Distinguished Service Award, given in recognition of her outstanding service to the association and to the veterinary profession in Massachusetts. Dr. Segal is the founder of Parkway Veterinary Hospital in West Roxbury. A past president of the MVMA, she serves on the MVMA Government Relations and Advocacy as well as Emergency and Disaster Preparedness committees, and volunteers with the veterinary services team for the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team. Dr. Segal is a certified canine rehabilitation and veterinary pain practitioner.

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Dr. Alistair Cribb

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

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Dr. Vlad Ushakov, Nataliia Ushakova, and son Oleksi

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

Dr. Alistair Cribb (Saskatchewan ’84), Westborough, and Dr. Vlad Ushakov and his wife, Nataliia Ushakova, both of North Grafton, won the Merit Award, in recognition of their service and dedication to the veterinary community in Ukraine. Dr. Cribb is dean of Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, where he also serves as a professor in the Department of Comparative Biology. Dr. Ushakov, a Ukrainian veterinarian and president of the Ukrainian Small Animal Veterinary Association (USAVA), is an international veterinary fellow in the dean’s office as part of the Tufts Scholars at Risk program. Ushakova is a staff member of the veterinary school’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals. Dr. Cribb was recognized for his efforts in arranging for Dr. Ushakov to work at the veterinary school. Dr. Ushakov was honored for his work supporting Ukrainian veterinarians and companion animals via the USAVA program, BASED, backed by the veterinary school. Ushakova was recognized for her contributions to the Foster Hospital for Small Animals.

Phi Zeta presents research awards for 2023

Phi Zeta, the international honor society of veterinary medicine, recently presented the 2023 Research Manuscript Awards. This year, Nestlé Purina PetCare subsidized the award amount with a donation of $5,000, allowing the society to offer $2,500 to each of the two winners, along with engraved plaques.

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Dr. Kristin Bowers

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

The award in basic sciences went to Dr. Kristin Bowers (California-Davis ’18) of the Phi chapter of Phi Zeta at the University of Tennessee. Her winning paper was “Mesenchymal stem cell use in acute tendon injury: In vitro tenogenic potential vs. In vivo dose response.” Dr. Bowers is a researcher at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, where she studies tissue-engineered therapeutics, including stem cell therapy and bone biomaterials.

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Dr. William Crosby

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 2; 10.2460/javma.262.2.171

The award in clinical sciences went to Dr. William Crosby (Mississippi State ’20) of the Omega chapter of Phi Zeta at Mississippi State University. His winning paper was “Does swab type matter? Comparing methods for Mannheimia haemolytica recovery and upper respiratory microbiome characterization in feedlot cattle.” Dr. Crosby is a large animal internal medicine resident, a graduate research assistant, and a clinical instructor at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on the effect of macrolide metaphylaxis on antimicrobial resistance in Mannheimia haemolytica.

Assemblies

American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians

The American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians (AAFSPHV) held a virtual meeting on October 19, 2023. The association provided members with an update on the organization’s work during the past year. The AAFSPHV sponsored symposia on food safety at the annual conventions of the AVMA and the United States Animal Health Association. Monthly continuing education webinars on food safety, One Health, and public health are being provided in partnership with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and the National Association of Federal Veterinarians. Dr. Katherine Waters, executive vice president of the AAFSPHV, reported on membership and finances. Drs. Paulo Mohyla, Pamela Abney, and Gabriel Innes, who represent the association on the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee, Legislative Advisory Committee, and Committee on Antimicrobials, respectively, reported on the activities of those committees. Dr. Kristen Clark, AAFSPHV delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD), provided an update on her work with the HOD. The AAFSPHV officials are Drs. Angela Demaree, Indianapolis, president; Catherine Alexander, Minneapolis, recording secretary; Kelly Vest, Blackwell, Oklahoma, treasurer; Donna DeBonis, Oak Harbor, Washington, immediate past president; Katherine Waters, Denver, executive vice president and AVMA alternate delegate; Kristen Clark, St. Paul, Minnesota, AVMA delegate; and directors—Drs. Leslie Brooks, Indianapolis; Van H. Brass II, Columbus, Ohio; Heather Bair Brake, Atlanta; Mike Gilsdorf, Sykesville, Maryland; Will Sander, Urbana, Illinois; and Pamela Abney, Guntersville, Alabama.

American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners

The American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners (AASRP) held its annual meeting virtually on August 16. Yearly reports were presented by various individuals and entities, including the chairs of AASRP committees, AASRP’s liaison to the AVMA House of Delegates, and AASRP special working groups. The AASRP officials are Drs. Clare Scully, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, president; Michael Pesato, Newark, Delaware, president-elect; Michelle Kutzler, Philomath, Oregon, treasurer; Kelly Still-Brooks, Loveland, Colorado, immediate past president; Virginia Fajt, College Station, Texas, AVMA delegate; Susana Myers, Coopersville, Michigan, AVMA alternate delegate; and directors—Drs. Sarah Lowry, Lockport, New York; Allen Cannedy, Hillsborough, North Carolina; Evelyn Mackay, Bryan, Texas; and Andrea Mongini, Denair, California.

American College of Veterinary Surgeons

The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) held its annual surgery summit October 11-14 in Louisville, Kentucky. The ACVS officials are Dr. Ronald M. McLaughlin Jr., Mississippi State, Mississippi, chair and immediate past president; Dr. Jan Hawkins, West Lafayette, Indiana, president; Dr. Bryden J. Stanley, Flint, Michigan, president-elect; Dr. Julie D. Smith, Mountain View, California, treasurer; Ann T. Loew, Germantown, Maryland, chief executive officer; and regents—Drs. Christopher R. Byron, Blacksburg, Virginia; Laurent P. Guiot, Culver City, California; Ursula Krotscheck, Ithaca, New York; David G. Levine, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; Catriona M. MacPhail, Fort Collins, Colorado; and Annette M. McCoy, Urbana, Illinois.

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

In Memory

Victor S. Cox Jr.

Dr. Cox (Cornell ’65), 82, St. Paul, Minnesota, died October 9, 2023. He was an associate professor emeritus in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. During his more than 40-year tenure, Dr. Cox served as an associate professor of anatomy and helped establish the gross anatomy laboratory at the veterinary college, where he developed techniques to increase the educational value of anatomic specimens. His clinical research focused on bovine lameness and alternative causes for downer cow syndrome. Earlier in his career, Dr. Cox was a professor of veterinary anatomy at the University of Missouri. He is survived by a son, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Regions Hospital Foundation, 640 Jackson St., Mailstop 11202C, St. Paul, MN 55101.

Joseph E. Currie

Dr. Currie (Georgia ’55), 92, West End, North Carolina, died September 18, 2023. He practiced 44 years at Sandhills Veterinary Hospital, a practice he first co-owned and later owned in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Dr. Currie also taught clinical pathology in the veterinary medical technology program at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford. He helped establish the North Carolina Academy of Small Animal Medicine and was its charter president. A member of the North Carolina VMA, Dr. Currie served on its executive board. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; three children; and nine grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church Music Endowment Fund, 330 S. May St., Southern Pines, NC 28387, or the Companion Animal Clinic Foundation, P.O. Box 148, Southern Pines, NC 28387.

Phillip L. Curry

Dr. Curry (Illinois ’76), 78, Winter Springs, Florida, died October 17, 2023. Following graduation, he practiced mixed animal medicine at Shively Animal Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Curry subsequently established Animal Care Clinic in Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked for 20 years. He then moved to Florida, serving initially as an associate and relief veterinarian in central Florida, and later, as head surgeon at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Titusville. In 2014, Dr. Curry founded Animal Care Clinic of Titusville.

He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War. Dr. Curry is survived by his wife, Rita; two daughters and two sons; three grandchildren; and a sister. Memorials may be made to Pet Rescue by Judy, 401 S. Laurel Ave., Sanford, FL 32771.

Thomas M. Dillman

Dr. Dillman (Ohio State ’59), 88, St. Louis, Missouri, died September 26, 2023. From 2007-16, he practiced at Animals R Us in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Earlier in his career, Dr. Dillman owned a practice in Trotwood, Ohio, for more than 40 years. During that time, he served on the Trotwood-Madison School Board and was a member of the Trotwood Rotary Club. Dr. Dillman is survived by three daughters and four grandchildren.

Anthony J. Evangelista

Dr. Evangelista (Ohio State ’77), 74, Painesville, Ohio, died November 2, 2023. He owned Lake Animal Hospital in Painesville for more than 40 years. Active in his community, Dr. Evangelista helped raise funds to improve athletic facilities at Riverside High School in Painesville. He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; a son and a daughter; two grandchildren; and two sisters. Memorials may be made to the American Dahlia Society, c/o Charles Miehm, 38430 Piggott Bottom Road, Hamilton, VA 20158, or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, P.O. Box 22324, New York, NY 10087.

Dennis M. Farrell

Dr. Farrell, 71, Hampton Bays, New York, died May 22, 2023. A 1981 veterinary graduate of the University of Turin in Italy, he owned a large animal practice, focusing on equine medicine, in Hampton Bays. Dr. Farrell also served as the veterinarian for the mounted unit of the New York Police Department for 37 years. His wife, Doreen; three sons and three daughters; and nine grandchildren survive him.

Stephen M. Forsythe

Dr. Forsythe (Ohio State ’75), 75, Lancaster, Ohio, died October 15, 2023. He owned Amanda Animal Hospital in Amanda, Ohio, for 43 years prior to retirement in 2018. Dr. Forsythe also served as the veterinarian for the Pickaway and Fairfield County fairs and the Hillsboro Livestock Sale for several years. His wife, Linda; two sons and a daughter; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a brother, stepbrother, and stepsister survive him. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

David C. Fuchshuber

Dr. Fuchshuber (Texas A&M ’72), 83, Fort Worth, Texas, died July 16, 2023. He owned Eastern Hills Pet Hospital, a small animal practice in Fort Worth. A member of the Fort Worth Kennel Club, he also served as veterinarian for its annual dog show. Dr. Fuchshuber is survived by a brother. Memorials may be made to the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840, or to the Rakow Research Library, Corning Museum of Glass, 1 Museum Way, Corning, NY 14830.

Jim E. Geary

Dr. Geary (Washington State ’62), 89, Lewiston, Idaho, died April 1, 2023. In 1966, he established Valley Veterinary Hospital in Lewiston, where he practiced until retirement in 1980. Dr. Geary previously worked in Seattle. He served on the Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine and was active with the Kiwanis Club and Masonic Lodge. Dr. Geary was a veteran of the Army. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Joan M. Kleczewski

Dr. Kleczewski (Colorado State ’96), 68, Littleton, Colorado, died November 4, 2023. Following graduation, she practiced small animal medicine in the Denver area, serving as an associate veterinarian with VCA Animal Hospitals. In 2000, Dr. Kleczewski established Centennial Veterinary Clinic in Littleton, where she practiced companion animal medicine until 2012. She is survived by her life partner, Jean Martine, and a sister and a brother. Memorials may be made to the Wild Animal Sanctuary, 2999 County Road 53, Keenesburg, CO 80643, or World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th St. NW, P.O. Box 97180, Washington, DC 20090.

Joanne K. McCallum

Dr. McCallum (California-Davis ’95), 68, DeLand, Florida, died July 24, 2023. She practiced in Florida at Woodland Clinic in DeLand and Driftwood Clinic in Daytona Beach. Dr. McCallum also volunteered at Search and Rescue of Central Florida and owned and trained horses, participating in dressage and carriage racing. Her husband, Johnny; a daughter; a grandchild; and six siblings survive her.

James H. McKnight

Dr. McKnight (Iowa State ’63), 86, Brookings, South Dakota, died November 11, 2023. Following graduation, he worked in Mobridge, South Dakota. Dr. McKnight subsequently established a mixed animal practice in Brookings. In 1968, he founded McKnight Veterinary Clinic in Brookings. During his career, Dr. McKnight also served as a relief veterinarian.

He served on the South Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, was a past president of the South Dakota and Interstate VMAs, and was a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Dr. McKnight is survived by his wife, Connie; a son and a daughter; and four grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the SDVMA Scholarship Foundation Inc., North Campus Drive, South Dakota State University, Box 2175, Brookings, SD 57007.

David F. Nahrwold

Dr. Nahrwold (Purdue ’78), 69, Woodburn, Indiana, died October 4, 2023. Following graduation, he practiced at Shelbyville Animal Clinic in Shelbyville, Indiana, and Manchester Veterinary Clinic in North Manchester, Indiana. In 1987, Dr. Nahrwold established Maumee Valley Veterinary Clinic in Woodburn. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; two daughters and a son; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Nahrwold’s son, Dr. Seth Nahrwold (Purdue ’13), is also a veterinarian. Memorials, toward the Veterinary Medicine Class of 1978 Fund, may be made to the Purdue Foundation, Gift Processing, P.O. Box 772401, Detroit, MI 48277, or Ascension Lutheran Church, 8811 St. Joe Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46835.

Robert H. Potter

Dr. Potter (Texas A&M ’64), 84, Columbus, Texas, died October 13, 2023. He practiced in Texas’s Colorado County for 50 years. Dr. Potter was a member of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and was active with the National FFA Organization and 4-H Club. His wife, Kay; three sons and a daughter; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a brother survive him. Memorials may be made to Columbus Community Hospital, 110 Shult Drive, Columbus, TX 78934; St. Roch’s Catholic Church, 1600 Frelsburg Road, Alleyton, TX 78934; or St. Anthony’s Catholic School, P.O. Box 669, Columbus, TX 78934.

Richard Roberts

Dr. Roberts (Ohio State ’59), 87, Rocky River, Ohio, died October 7, 2023. Following graduation, he joined what is now known as Roberts & Wendt Animal Hospital, a practice established by his father, Dr. Harry B. Roberts, in Lakewood, Ohio. Dr. Roberts served more than 40 years as a partner at the practice, focusing on small animals. His son, daughter, a grandchild, and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to Berea Animal Rescue Friends, P.O. Box 544, Berea, OH 44017, jav.ma/Berea.

Curtis L. Sanford

Dr. Sanford (Minnesota ’90), 59, Minneapolis, died August 11, 2023. He owned a small animal practice in Minneapolis until 2018. Earlier in his career, Dr. Sanford served as an associate veterinarian at Roseville Animal Hospital in Roseville, Minnesota, and owned Willmar Pet Hospital in Willmar, Minnesota. He is survived by his wife, Lisa; a son; his mother; and his siblings. Memorials may be made to Oligo Nation, 1325 Schaefer Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472.

Dana C. Schoelen

Dr. Schoelen (Ross ’90), 61, Toms River, New Jersey, died June 27, 2023. Following graduation, he worked three years at the Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dr. Schoelen subsequently co-owned Raintree Veterinary Hospital in Freehold, New Jersey, with his then wife, Dr. Tracie A. Glicker (Ross ’90). He is survived by his fiancée, Tara DiPinto; two children; and a brother.

Gary G. Swails

Dr. Swails (Kansas State ’70), 82, Bronxville, New York, died September 29, 2023. He owned small animal practices in Arvada, Colorado; St. Joseph, Missouri; and New York City. During his career, Dr. Swails also worked in California and Montana. While in Colorado, he contributed animal-related columns and articles to the Denver Post. Dr. Swails also contributed to the Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy magazines. He was a member of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and the VMA of New York City. Dr. Swails’ two daughters, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a brother survive him. Memorials may be made to the Morris Animal Foundation, 720 S. Colorado Blvd., Suite 174A, Denver, CO 80246, jav.ma/Morris, or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 424 E. 92nd St., New York, NY 10128, aspca.org.

Beryl C. Taylor

Dr. Taylor (Pennsylvania ’75), 73, Cream Ridge, New Jersey, died May 23, 2023. Following graduation, he worked at Wright Veterinary Medical Center, a small animal practice in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Dr. Taylor subsequently joined Walnridge Equine Clinic in Cream Ridge, where he practiced for a few years. He then established his own equine practice in Cream Ridge. Dr. Taylor was a longtime member of the New Jersey VMA. His wife, Laura; two sons; five grandchildren; and a brother survive him. Memorials, toward the Veterinary Student Scholarship Fund, may be made to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, 3800 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, jav.ma/VetStudentFund.

Arthur W. Tremper

Dr. Tremper (Michigan State ’67), 79, Chelsea, Michigan, died September 29, 2023. He was a partner at Lane Animal Hospital, a mixed animal practice in Chelsea, prior to retirement in 2019. Dr. Tremper is survived by his wife, Lee; three children; three grandchildren; and four siblings. Memorials may be made to Arbor Hospice, 2366 Oak Valley Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48103; Humane Society of Huron Valley, 3100 Cherry Hill Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; or St. Louis Center, 16195 W. Old US Highway 12, Chelsea, MI 48118.

Russell L. Wambeam

Dr. Wambeam (Minnesota ’65), 88, Laramie, Wyoming, died July 18, 2023. Following graduation, he practiced in Minnesota, including four years in the Twin Cities. Dr. Wambeam subsequently worked 10 years as a federal veterinarian in Wyoming. He then established a practice in Laramie, also teaching part time at the University of Wyoming. His four children and five grandchildren survive him.

Peter D. Westenburg

Dr. Westenburg (Colorado State ’65), 81, Omaha, Nebraska, died August 11, 2023. During his career, he established Mobile Animal Clinic and House Calls for Pets, mobile practices serving the Omaha area. Dr. Westenburg is survived by his life partner, Kate Willer; four sons; six grandchildren; and a sister. Memorials may be made to Food Bank for the Heartland, 10525 J St., Omaha, NE 68127, or The Salvation Army, 3738 Cuming St., Omaha, NE 68131.

Fred D. Wingert

Dr. Wingert (Kansas State ’56), 90, Wichita, Kansas, died August 9, 2023. He owned Wingert Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Wichita, prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Wingert served in the Army and practiced mixed animal medicine in Atchison, Kansas. He was a member of the American Animal Hospital Association and Kansas VMA. Dr. Wingert is survived by three daughters, a son, seven grandchildren, and two brothers. His son, Dr. Bart Wingert (Kansas State ’85), is also a veterinarian. Other veterinarians in Dr. Wingert’s family are his brother, Dr. Robert Wingert (Kansas State ’66); his daughter-in-law, Dr. Sue Wingert (Kansas State ’85); his nephew, Dr. Matthew Wingert (Kansas State ’95); and his granddaughter, Dr. Allie Wingert (Kansas State ’17). Memorials may be made to the Kansas Humane Society, 3313 N. Hillside St., Wichita, KS 67219, or Wichita Presbyterian Manor, 4700 W. 13th St. N., Wichita, KS 67212.

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