May 01, 2015

Veterinarians are serving in the small army of public health personnel fighting in West Africa against the largest Ebola virus epidemic in history, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives in just over a year.


The AVMA began a process for recognition of veterinary specialty organizations back in 1951. Ever since, most veterinarians who have completed the requirements for board certification have been considered to be board-certified specialists for life. Starting in 2016, however, all new specialists will have to demonstrate efforts to maintain their competence, to maintain their certification.


A survey targeting dairies with histories of illegal drug residues in cows at slaughter found that about 1 percent also had illegal residues in milk. Those residues would have been unnoticed in routine tests, according to a Food and Drug Administration report on the survey findings, but the agency also said the survey results show the milk supply is safe.


Some of tomorrow’s emerging pathogens already exist in livestock herds, and veterinarians in private practice, industry, and government are working to reduce the harm future outbreaks could cause for in swine herds. Many of them have been working over the past two years to minimize harm from porcine epidemic diarrhea, a viral disease that has killed millions of neonatal pigs in the U.S. alone.


Ten years after the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges launched its DiVersity Matters initiative, the association remains dedicated to helping veterinary colleges grow an applicant pool and an enrollment that mirror population demographics. However, making that a reality has been difficult. The percentage of historically underrepresented students at U.S. veterinary colleges went from 9.7 to 14.6 percent of the veterinary student population, from 2005-2015. Meanwhile, 37.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2013 was nonwhite.


The statement in the story “Pain relief needed in youngest pigs” (JAVMA, May 1, 2015) that “residues from drugs without established tolerance levels would be illegal, and the Food and Drug Administration would need to establish residue
tolerance levels for veterinarians to determine what withdrawal times are needed” requires clarification. In fact, the FDA is unlikely to establish residue tolerance concentrations unless a drug sponsor provides relevant pharmacokinetic data. In the absence of established tolerance levels, veterinarians can still estimate withdrawal times but must do so on the basis of
limited data or by extrapolation beyond currently available data.


In the May 1 article “After porcine epidemic diarrhea, preparing for other diseases,” Dr. Max T. Rodibaugh’s name was misspelled.