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October 15, 2021

In Short

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Hill’s donates to AVMF for Tuskegee scholarships, Louisiana disaster relief

Hill’s Pet Nutrition recently made a $30,000 donation to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to support a scholarship program at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. Hill’s made an additional gift of $10,000 to the AVMF to support disaster relief efforts in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida.

The donation for the Tuskegee scholarship follows a $45,000 endowment from Hill’s in 2020 to the AVMF to be directed to Tuskegee to create the scholarship program. Tuskegee, a historically Black university, has educated 70% of Black veterinarians in the United States since its founding. The AVMF is matching Hill’s new $30,000 gift for a total of $60,000 in new donations.

 Hill's and AVMF logos

The Hill’s donation for disaster relief in Louisiana will support the Louisiana State Animal Response Team. LSART is a division of the Dr. Walter J. Ernst Veterinary Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit associated with the Louisiana VMA.

The AVMF is matching the $10,000 donation to provide total support to LSART in the amount of $20,000. The funds will be directed to support disaster response and relief efforts in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida and for future disasters.

Researchers developing genetic test for dangerous drug reactions

A research group at Washington State University hopes a new genetic test could identify dogs with an elevated risk of dangerous reactions to anesthetics and other drugs.

The researchers were recruiting dogs this summer for further study toward developing the genetic test, which could help veterinarians adjust drug dosages or select alternatives. An Aug. 5 announcement from WSU indicates some dogs, especially Greyhounds and other sight hounds, metabolize certain drugs slowly in comparison with other breeds, increasing the risk of death from routine procedures requiring anesthesia.

Dr. Michael Court and members of the Court Lab in the Program for Individualized Medicine at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine have identified several mutations in genes that encode for enzymes needed for metabolism of common anesthetic drugs and some other pharmaceuticals administered to dogs, the announcement states.

Using a low-dose cocktail of other drugs metabolized in a similar manner, members of the laboratory previously conducted a study involving blood, saliva, and urine samples collected from Greyhounds and Golden Retrievers.

“The researchers demonstrated that their test could differentiate between the two types of metabolizers and found blood and urine were the most effective samples for the test,” the announcement states.

$5.8B in student loans to be discharged for borrowers with disabilities

More than 323,000 borrowers who can no longer work because of a disability will receive over $5.8 billion in automatic discharges of student loans under a new regulation announced Aug. 19 by the U.S. Department of Education. The change applies to borrowers who are identified through an existing data match with the Social Security Administration.

The USDE also will indefinitely extend a policy announced in March to stop asking these borrowers to provide information on their earnings—a process that results in the reinstatement of loans if borrowers do not respond—beyond the end of the national emergency declared because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The department will pursue eliminating the three-year income monitoring period during a rule-making period that begins in October.

The new regulation announced Aug. 19 allows the USDE to provide automatic discharges for borrowers with total and permanent disabilities who are identified through administrative data matching by removing the requirement for these borrowers to fill out an application before receiving relief. The department removed this application barrier in 2019 for disabled borrowers identified as eligible for a discharge through a data match with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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