Cats deserve good medical care, and veterinarians who provide that care should be members of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
That's according to Dr. Lorraine K. Jarboe, incoming AAFP president, who has never worked in feline-exclusive practice but became the "cat guru" at the practices where she has worked.
Dr. Jarboe and other AAFP officers are trying to spread the message that their organization is a source of continuing education and other information that can help veterinarians improve the care of cats.
Starting out, Dr. Jarboe went to veterinary school because of her interest in science and animals—particularly cats.
"The bottom line is I always liked cats. I was always mesmerized by their physical and social intricacies," Dr. Jarboe said. "Going through school, it became very obvious that cats are not small dogs. They are underappreciated as a unique species."
"Cats are not small dogs. They are underappreciated as a unique species."
—DR. LORRAINE K. JARBOE, INCOMING PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION
OF FELINE PRACTITIONERS
After graduating from The Ohio State University in 1979, Dr. Jarboe spent several years in the Army. She then worked as an associate at private small animal practices while her husband continued an Army career. Focusing her continuing education on cats, Dr. Jarboe became the feline expert at each practice.
Dr. Jarboe said she joined the AAFP because it is a comprehensive source of information about feline medicine and surgery—and its members share a respect for cats. She also earned board certification in companion animal practice, now the category of canine and feline practice, from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. She later was part of the first group to earn board certification in feline practice.
Dr. Jarboe served on the ABVP Council of Regents and then as ABVP president. Afterward, the AAFP appointed her to fill a vacancy on its board. Members elected her to a full term on the AAFP board and then to the position of president-elect. Dr. Jarboe has mostly retired from practice and is focusing on organized veterinary medicine.
Examination development is one of Dr. Jarboe's many contributions to the profession. She remains active in the examination process for certification by the ABVP in canine and feline practice. She also has written items for the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates certification program and has participated in examination review for the ECVFG and North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.
As president of the AAFP, Dr. Jarboe will emphasize that the association is not just for feline-exclusive practitioners.
"The AAFP is for any veterinarian who sees cats," she said, because it provides members with information to improve feline health.
The membership of the AAFP has been stable for the past three years, Dr. Jarboe said, but she believes the numbers will grow as the association reaches out to a broader range of veterinarians.
Dr. Jarboe's other goals include evaluating and possibly revamping the AAFP volunteer structure to increase the participation of recent graduates and further expanding the use of electronic communication to help inform the membership.
The AAFP continues to reach out to veterinary students, Dr. Jarboe said, and it has student chapters at almost every veterinary school. The student members receive online subscriptions to the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. The AAFP also offers a discount on their dues for a short time after graduation.
Joining Dr. Jarboe as AAFP officers are Drs. Elizabeth J. Colleran, Chico, Calif., president-elect; Roy B. Smith, Round Rock, Texas, secretary-treasurer; and Roberta K. Lillich, Abilene, Kan., immediate past president.
Dr. Lorraine K. Jarboe
Dr. Elizabeth J. Colleran
Dr. Roy B. Smith
Dr. Roberta K. Lillich
Dr. Larry M. Kornegay, AVMA president-elect, installed the new officers during the business meeting at the AAFP fall conference. He also updated AAFP members on AVMA activities.
"This was an excellent educational meeting focusing on the feline—and a lot of fun as well," Dr. Kornegay said afterward.
He added that he enjoyed himself at the Halloween party during the conference, which brought out many attendees in costumes with feline themes.