Oct
29
2008
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed House Bill 2525 into law earlier this month at a Langhorne, Pa., animal hospital. The so-called “Puppy Mill Bill” represents an important step toward improving the lives of the state’s dogs.

The 102-page law, signed Oct. 9, takes aim at commercial breeders that operate puppy mills, for which the state is infamous. Many of the major changes pertain to breeders who sell dogs to dealers or pet shops, or who sell more than 60 dogs per year.

Charlene Wandzilak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), said her organization sees the bill as a big step toward better care for dogs kept by large commercial breeders.

“It is a significant improvement in providing humane treatment, ensuring standards for exercise and living conditions, and a regular program of veterinary care including two exams per year per dog and euthanization only by a veterinarian,” Wandzilak said. “It is a great stride toward advancing the welfare of dogs in Pennsylvania and PVMA is proud of our contribution to ensuring this happened. Now, it will be a matter of enforcement and compliance.” ...more
Oct
29
2008
As animal welfare issues gain momentum worldwide, two of the nation’s top veterinary organizations are taking a leadership role in the field. The American Animal Hospital Association is looking into revising its animal welfare positions, and an American Veterinary Medical Association official has become the first U.S. citizen to be credentialed in animal welfare.

“We’re going to look at the present policies that AAHA has right now, and if they need changing and how,” said AAHA board member Rod Jouppi. “[Animal welfare] has always been a very important part of AAHA, and it is appropriate that the policies that have been established be reviewed periodically.”

Meanwhile, Gail Golab, PhD, DVM, head of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, traveled to Australia to study with veterinarians from Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. After more than two years of study, she sat for and passed written and oral exams to earn membership-level credential in the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists’ (ACVSc) Animal Welfare Chapter. The ACVSc and the British Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) are the only veterinary organizations in the world to offer animal welfare credentials. ...more
Oct
29
2008
As the approaching winter causes a lull in the demand for rabies vaccine, now may be a good time to get you and your staff vaccinated.

The rabies vaccine supply has been very limited this year, and the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been difficult if not impossible to come by. Even many veterinary colleges have been unable to vaccinate their first year students. However, the vaccine is now available directly through Novartis on a case by case basis, officials say.

Demand for the post-exposure vaccine has been about 1,500 doses per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That demand, coupled with the fact that only one of the two manufacturers of the vaccine is currently producing the vaccine, led to the limited supply situation. ...more
Oct
15
2008
As the U.S. economic climate continues to darken, another unfortunate victim is appearing: the pet health-care financial assistance fund.

There are dozens of these funds, which accept donations to help pet owners pay for veterinary medical bills. Many are state-specific, but there are only a few national organizations that provide money for pet owners in need, and as of this week, five of them are no longer accepting applications for assistance.

“We’re hurting. We’re all out of money,” said Jacki Hadra, founder of In Memory of Magic (IMOM). “We’re getting more applications than ever, but fewer donations.”

Claire Gaudiani, a professor at New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising said that these organizations can expect to see a drop-off in donations.

“Historically there is a decline in giving that is associated with a decline in wealth-building,” Gaudiani said. “It’s different in different periods; it’s hard to predict how severe this will be.” ...more
Oct
15
2008
A report that claims exotic and “nontraditional” pets are not suitable for homes with young children is merely “sensational” science, and what is really needed is better pet-owner education, say some exotic-pet veterinarians. Meanwhile, the state of Delaware is pursuing legislation that would require permits and strict standards for exotic pet owners.

The report, in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, concludes that: “most nontraditional pets pose a risk to the health of young children, and their acquisition and ownership should be discouraged in households with young children.”

National media outlets have reported on the study, but not everyone buys into it.

“Most of that stuff is old, over-hashed fear and loathing,” said Jeffrey Jenkins, DVM, DAVBP (Avian). “I would call it a sensational scientific article.” ...more
Oct
1
2008
In 2006, a group of researchers trained dogs to detect gas compounds in the exhaled breath of humans that indicated the presence of lung and breast cancer. The dogs proved overwhelmingly correct in identifying vials containing breath samples from the cancer patients compared with samples from healthy people.

In July, a group of scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia published a study in the British Journal of Dermatology on the various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are present in healthy human skin, specifically on the forearm and back. The team used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to analyze the “odor profiles” of the skin of 25 people of different ages and sexes. ...more
Oct
1
2008
Hurricane Gustav’s arrival in the United States on Sept. 1 marked an important milestone in companion animal history. For the first time, pets and service animals were allowed to evacuate hurricane-threatened areas with their owners. And at least one group of veterinary technicians was an integral part of it.

The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, signed into law by President Bush in 2006, requires pets to be included in disaster evacuation plans.

OSU instructor Dana Call, RVT, VTS (ECC), was the leader of a team of technicians and students that were sent to the shelter to attend to the non-human evacuees. She received a call from Scott Mason, DVM, coordinator of the Oklahoma State Animal Response Team, putting her on alert that the evacuees were arriving Sept. 1. Call said about 1,800 people arrived at the Oklahoma shelter on Labor Day, along with about 30 cats and dogs, a cockatiel, a fish and two gerbils. ...more
Sep
17
2008
Compounding drugs for animal patients is regulated by 50 different state boards of pharmacy and murky federal laws. Although compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are allowed when approved drugs are not available or suitable for the intended use.

Veterinarians should remember a few key things in order to stay safe and on the right side of the law.

Potency, safety, efficacy and bioavailability are not guaranteedCompounding from bulk chemicals is in a “regulatory void”Compounds may only be distributed to the patient for which they were prescribedCompounding to make a cheaper version of an approved drug that already exists is illegal Use a PCAB-accredited compounding pharmacy when possible ...more
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