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Treatment for canine leishmaniasis exists in Brazilian vaccine

Dog standing in grassA vaccine used to prevent dogs from contracting leishmaniasis, a deadly parasitic disease, also can be used to treat infected dogs. This finding by Morris Animal Foundation–funded researchers at the University of Iowa provides a new avenue of treatment for millions of infected dogs globally. Leishmaniasis is a major zoonotic disease that is enzootic in more than 70 countries. It has recently emerged in the United States.

The study, recently published in the journal Vaccine, provided the first clinical trial of the vaccine LeishTec in infected dogs. The vaccine is commercially available in Brazil. The team tested the vaccine in eight U.S. states on more than 400 dogs, almost all Foxhounds, as they are one of the breeds mostly likely to carry the disease in North America. Researchers discovered not only that it was safe to give the vaccine to already-infected dogs, but also that vaccination minimized disease in the experimental group, according to an MAF press release.

Veterinary science award given at FFA meeting

Ms. Letkeman
Megan Letkeman

The National FFA Organization announced Oct. 26, 2018, that Megan Letkeman of Texas won the 2018 National Agricultural Proficiency Award in the category of veterinary science.

The award program honors FFA members who have developed special skills that they can apply to their future careers. The AVMA sponsors the award in veterinary science.

Letkeman, of the Seminole FFA Chapter, works at a local mixed animal veterinary hospital. She plans to attend Texas Tech University and enroll in preveterinary studies.

The award was given at the 91st National FFA Organization Convention & Expo, which drew almost 70,000 attendees to Indianapolis.

Scholarships open to students from New Jersey

Veterinary students who have ties to New Jersey can earn scholarships of about $10,000.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is accepting applications for the 2019 Harold Wetterberg Foundation Scholarships through March 15. Second- and third-year veterinary students are eligible to apply if they have lived in New Jersey and are able to provide documentation of residency with their application, although college attendance in the state is insufficient.

The AVMF Scholarship Review Committee and the Wetterberg Foundation select about 10 recipients for awards typically ranging from $5,000-$15,000. The organizations give preference to students who are pursuing dual degrees.

More information will be available as of Jan. 1 at the AVMF website.

WSAVA calls for health-conscious breeding

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has called on veterinarians and breeders to reduce hereditary disease in companion animals by adopting a health-conscious approach to breeding and making use of genetic testing.

In a new position paper, available at, WSAVA asks veterinarians and breeders to ensure that criteria for the selection of breeding animals include the ability to reproduce naturally and exclude anatomical characteristics that predispose animals to hereditary disease, such as extreme conformations including size, skin folds, angulation, and brachycephaly. The paper urges breeders to use pre-breeding health screening to select animals that are likely to produce healthy offspring.

The paper also urges veterinarians to ensure they are up to date regarding the availability and proper use of genetic tests.

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Related JAVMA content:

Hunters hounded as leishmaniasis is diagnosed in Foxhounds (June 15, 2000)