April 01, 2004

Growing demands raise doubts about APHIS' emergency response capability Report finds government's animal health infrastructure in decline as risks grow Despite the twin threats of agroterrorism and new and emerging diseases, a report by the federal agency responsible for protecting America's agriculture details a sharp decline in the number of government veterinarians and other animal health professionals responding to animal emergencies. The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service prepared the report, which states that the systems safeguarding U.S. agriculture are coming under increasing pressure from the growing volume of international trade and travel, the risk of terrorism, and wildlife disease management. ...

AVMA News

How is the AVMA addressing the controversy surrounding housing pregnant sows in gestation stalls? Dr. Gail Golab, AVMA assistant director of professional and public affairs and staff consultant to the Animal Welfare Committee, responds: During its July 2003 meeting, the AVMA House of Delegates passed a resolution directing the AVMA to conduct a thorough and objective review of the scientific evidence relating to impacts on the health and welfare of keeping breeding sows in gestation stalls. The resolution was then forwarded to the Animal Welfare Committee for action, and the committee recommended that the Executive Board appoint a task force of experts on the housing of pregnant sows to conduct the review. During its November meeting, the b ...

College News

Art and veterinary medicine at the crossroads Veterinarian uses artistic skills to better the profession In one of the nooks of Western University College of Veterinary Medicine, you will find a supply of plastic, rubber, metal, and wood; saws and instruments for manipulating them; and molds for casting the materials. This laboratory is where Dr. Ben Kitchen toils, designing models to teach WesternU's veterinary students the skills they will need in practice. It is aptly named the Learning Tool Development Laboratory. On any given day, you may find Dr. Kitchen bent over a workbench, wrapping foam and rubber around wood to simulate a thorax that students can use to practice thoracic tube insertion, or skillfully creating animal joints out of ...

Poultry

Deadly strain of avian flu in Texas A highly pathogenic avian influenza strain not seen in the United States in 20 years was confirmed Feb. 23 in a flock of some 6,600 broiler chickens in Texas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although in the United States there are no known humans infected with high- or low-pathogenic H5N2 viruses, public health officials were monitoring area farm workers as a precaution. The farm in Gonzales County, Texas, is under state quarantine, and the infected flock was depopulated Feb. 21. The USDA and Texas Animal Health Commission are conducting an epidemiologic investigation that includes determining the source of the infection and surveillance testing within a 10-mile radius of the infected flock. The hig ...

Public Health

Recent studies provide evidence that children who are exposed to animals from birth are less likely to develop allergies. This runs contrary to the long-held belief that exposure to animals increases the risk of becoming sensitive to them. Although many newspapers and popular press have eagerly jumped on the "pets can protect" story, the issue is far from clear. "There is a controversy out there," says Marianne Frieri, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. In the late 1990s, a handful of studies reported an inverse relationship between cat or dog exposure and allergic disease in humans. Although those re ...

Take Notice

EPA orders retailers to stop sales of counterfeit flea and tick products for pets The Environmental Protection Agency is acting to disrupt an effort to distribute counterfeit products for controlling fleas and ticks on dogs and cats. The agency has ordered pesticide distributors and retailers in a number of states to stop selling counterfeit products that contain false EPA registration numbers and labeling for Advantage and Frontline brands of pesticides. The orders prohibit retailers and distributors from distributing or selling the counterfeit products and make them responsible for their proper disposal. The counterfeit pesticides appear to have been unlawfully imported and packaged in retail cartons designed to look similar to legitimate ...