May 15, 2018

Is it always in the best interest of an animal patient to prolong its life? Such dilemmas are increasingly common in veterinary medicine. A clinical ethics committee modeled after those common in human medicine has been established at NC State’s Veterinary Hospital to help veterinary staff work through difficult choices associated with patient care.

AVMA

Veterinary students want more transparency when it comes to the cost of their veterinary degree. Student AVMA delegates discussed the issue during the SAVMA House of Delegates biannual meeting at the 49th annual SAVMA Symposium. A Tuition Transparency Task Force was created and charged with pursuing increased transparency by universities relative to tuition increases and where the money goes as well as other issues.

Issues

The trainers for Greyhounds with 24 positive test results for cocaine metabolites won two court victories that could overturn Florida’s drug testing rules. In December 2017 and March 2018, administrative law Judge Lawrence P. Stevenson delivered rulings on separate arguments that state drug testing rules for racing animals were invalid. State authorities are appealing the decisions.

Practice

Veterinarians in North America and Europe are under pressure to reduce antimicrobial administration on swine farms. Determining which uses are judicious and measuring outcomes are difficult, according to speakers at a recent meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. They described challenges related to collecting data that could be used to set policy and link changes in antimicrobial use with outcomes in prevalence of drug resistance, and related to policymaking swayed more by opinion than research.

Community

Veterinary educators talked innovation at this year’s Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges annual conference. The 265 educators attending the meeting, held March 2-4 in Washington, D.C., heard about new perspectives on technology, assessment, multicenter collaboration, and a host of other topics.

​Corrections

The article “Assessing veterinary technician education” in the May 1, 2018, issue of JAVMA News, page 1036, gave an incorrect highest possible score for the Veterinary Technician National Examination. The highest possible score is 800. In addition, only one program is on probationary accreditation and falls below a 50 percent, three-year pass rate on the VTNE, not two as originally stated.


Clarification

The photos on pages 906 and 907 of the April 15 article “A one-health solution to the toxic algae problem” are not characteristic of harmful algal blooms caused by cyanobacteria. Rather, they appear to be green filamentous algae, which can pose an indirect threat to aquatic animals by rendering water hypoxic, especially at night or when the organisms die. It is important to the protection of human and animal health to be able to recognize the gross appearance of cyanobacteria. The two photos here are of HABs caused by cyanobacteria at lakes in Minnesota and New York. The blue color of cyanobacterial blooms, which is often most evident at the shoreline, develops as the organisms degenerate. Microscopic examinations of cyanobacterial cells and cyanobacterial toxin analyses by individuals with expertise in this area are also of great value. 

​(Photo by Doug Conroe, Chautauqua Lake Association)

​(Photo by Dan Fettig, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency)