AAFP president sees opportunities in feline medicine

Published on October 29, 2014
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Dr. Susan Little did not grow up in a home with cats as pets, yet cats always fascinated her. She went on to become a feline practitioner in 1990 and president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners for 2015.

Dr. Little with feline patient
Dr. Susan Little and Zanzibar (Photo by Rose Javinsky)

She said cats are a challenging species to work with, and she likes the challenge. She said, “There are also many things we do not yet understand about cats and feline medicine, so the scientist in me likes the opportunity for research.”

Dr. Little graduated in 1988 from Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. She is part owner of Bytown Cat Hospital and Merivale Cat Hospital, both in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a diplomate in the feline category under the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

She became aware of the AAFP through the feline club at her veterinary college. She said, “The AAFP organization has done a tremendous amount of work to further feline medicine, so the chance to both learn from colleagues and help others improve feline health care is very important to me.”

Dr. Little is a past president of the Winn Feline Foundation and a member of the Examination Development Advisory Board of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. She has served on committees for the Canadian VMA.

She is one of five feline veterinary specialists in Canada who created Cat Healthy Canada, an initiative to help veterinarians improve feline preventive health care. She is the editor of “The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management” and the forthcoming seventh volume of Dr. John R. August’s “Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine.”

In addition, Dr. Little has participated in research on feline infectious disease, particularly feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus infections.

As AAFP president, Dr. Little hopes to help build on and improve current programs. She said the AAFP considers any veterinarian who sees cats to be a feline practitioner and is conducting strategic planning to identify other needs.

“Veterinary team members are actively trying to increase their feline knowledge and skills,” Dr. Little said. “The AAFP offers a wide array of membership benefits that enable them to do so.”

Among the benefits for members are the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, continuing education, and the Cat Friendly Practice Program. Dr. Little said the program has been “a huge success, both in improving experiences in veterinary clinics for cats and in helping grow our membership.”

The AAFP continues to have feline clubs at many veterinary colleges, Dr. Little said. Among the benefits for student members are online access to the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, a discount on registration to the AAFP annual conference, and a discount on AAFP member dues at graduation.

Dr. Currigan
Dr. Colleen Currigan
Dr. Brown
Dr. Marcus G. Brown

Joining Dr. Little as AAFP officers for 2015 are Drs. Colleen Currigan, Chicago, president-elect, and Marcus G. Brown, Arlington, Virginia, immediate past president.

Related JAVMA content:

Cat Friendly Practice resounds (Nov. 15, 2014)

Cat-friendly message targets public (Nov. 15, 2013)

Herding Cat Owners (Sept. 1, 2013)

Solving the cat riddle (March 15, 2013)