New policies, allied group for HOD

AVMA takes stance on remote consulting, relocated pets
Published on August 21, 2013
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old
Shelter dog
The AVMA House of Delegates adopted a policy dealing with transport of dogs and cats for adoption and the risks these animals face.

The AVMA will oppose remote veterinary consulting, seek controls on adoption of relocated pets, and advocate for veterinarian notification about illegal drug residues.

The AVMA House of Delegates also will add representation from the American Holistic VMA, but, at least temporarily, declined to add representation for the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture.

The delegates took those actions July 19 at the HOD regular annual session, also passing a resolution that the Executive Board should give the delegates access to results from a survey on member satisfaction.

The new policy “Remote Consulting,” a revised version of the policy “Paid Media Consulting,” states that the AVMA opposes remote consulting by veterinarians to diagnose a condition or treat a patient in the absence of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

Delegates from Hawaii and Alaska tried to introduce an amendment saying such consulting can be beneficial or acceptable when a veterinarian is unavailable geographically.

Dr. Dan Lafontaine, delegate for the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians, countered, “In these states where there are unique situations, the state practice act is the proper place to make exemptions, not to have it in an AVMA policy that’s this broad.”

In addition, the policy “Relocation of Pets for Adoption” was approved. This was developed in response to concerns expressed by AVMA members and veterinary associations that interstate transport of dogs and cats by animal control facilities, shelters, and rescue groups can increase the risk of infectious diseases being brought into local shelters and communities, according to the statement about the resolution.

Another resolution passed by delegates urges the Food and Drug Administration to require that livestock owners identify their veterinarians to the FDA when their animals are found to have illegal drug residues. The AVMA wants the agency to inform those veterinarians about the residues.

The Executive Board had recommended that both the American Holistic VMA and the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture be admitted as HOD members, but delegates admitted only the AHVMA, referring the resolution on the AAVA back to the Executive Board to examine whether the academy fittingly represents veterinary acupuncturists.

For an organization to qualify to be a member of the House of Delegates, it needs to have a national scope of practice, represent a broad field of professional veterinary activity, and have a prerequisite number of AVMA members. At least 90 percent of a constituent organization’s members must be AVMA members. Those AVMA members need to constitute at least one percent of the AVMA’s total membership, or 840 members as of Jan. 1, 2013.

Information given to delegates indicates 1,032 of the holistic VMA’s 1,140 members are AVMA members, as are 843 of the acupuncture academy’s 903 members.

Among acupuncturists, however, there are three certifying agencies: the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, and the Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians Program at Colorado State University.

Dr. David Ylander, Nebraska delegate, expressed concern that the AAVA more heavily represents the first two organizations, which promote Chinese medicine. He is a graduate of the Colorado State program that does not espouse that kind of medicine.

Dr. Nancy N. Scanlan, executive director of the American Holistic VMA, said in an interview prior to the delegates session that gaining representation in the House of Delegates would help her association’s members communicate with the rest of the veterinary profession. She said some veterinarians have distorted views of those practicing alternative modalities, including views that they are using unscientific methods.

“I think nothing could be further from the truth, but you don’t know that if you don’t sit down and talk to us every day or have one of us as your neighbor,” Dr. Scanlan said. “So, we look forward to it as a chance to communicate more closely with the rest of the veterinary community.”

In January, the House of Delegates had considered a resolution from the Connecticut VMA that the AVMA declare that homeopathy is ineffective, a resolution that Dr. Scanlan said was a surprise. But the delegates had referred the resolution to the Executive Board with a recommendation for further consideration by the Council on Veterinary Service.

Dr. Scanlan hopes that her organization can give delegates more information on modalities used outside of conventional medicine and the results AHVMA members have achieved by using those modalities. Her organization plans to watch for issues that could affect complementary and alternative veterinary medicine, and she expects that in the near future, the AHVMA will play an advisory role, rather than raise issues for the HOD to consider.