AVMA Update Spring 2019

Aloha HVMA members! These are some highlights from the AVMA.

AVMA Convention 2019

A monumental experience awaits you in Washington, D.C. and we can’t wait to see you there! This year’s event will take place August 2-6 and the CE and events schedule is now available for you to search. Start planning an itinerary that will earn you more than 40 hours of CE and still leave plenty of time for networking, fun events, and sightseeing . Choose from nearly 900 education sessions over the course of the five-day conference. There are hands-on labs, interactive workshops, panels, lectures, and poster presentations. Register at AVMA.org.

Axon: Next-generation digital education

AVMA Axon™ is an online learning tool that you can incorporate into your daily life. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, practice managers, or other team members, can find CE with information you need – about the newest studies, techniques, and trends – along with actionable ways to apply it to your daily life and work. Examples of topics:
Agile Pioneers
Career Development
Financial Health
Leadership
One Health
Policy and Practice
Wellbeing, Diversity, Inclusion
Advocacy

AVMA Axon™ is a resource for the entire veterinary community. As an AVMA member, all of the current offerings are free. Start exploring today at axon.avma.org.

AVMA establishes veterinary technician task force

Veterinary technicians are important members of the veterinary health care team. Their skills and expertise help both the patient and the practice. Improving veterinary technician utilization would only enhance that level of service and increase job satisfaction. At the AVMA Board of Directors spring meeting April 12-13, the Board voted to approve a task force which will develop a plan to improve vet tech use while recognizing the importance of financial and career sustainability, effective task delegation, and the wellbeing of both the veterinary technician and the practice.

The task force comes after the AVMA House of Delegates discussed technician utilization and ways to enhance it during its January meeting. It was clear during the discussion that the value of veterinary technicians is important and that efforts need to be made across the profession to increase technician use. The consensus among House members led them to recommend that the AVMA Board convene a task force to design a plan to improve veterinary technician utilization and that a progress report be
shared with the House Of Delegates within a year.

Guiding the profession: Policy actions

AVMA councils and committees reviewed more than 40 AVMA policies prior to the Board meeting that were subsequently submitted for reaffirmation, revision and approval. Highlights include the Board voting to:
– Reaffirm the AVMA Policy on Transport, Sale Yard Practices and Humane Slaughter of Hoofstock and Poultry
– Approve the revised Policy on Animal Abuse and Neglect
– Approve the revised Policy on Veterinary End-of-Life Care
– Refer the revised Policy on Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials to the AVMA House of Delegates with a recommendation to approve
– Refer the revised Joint American Association of Bovine Practitioners-AVMA Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle Policy to the House of Delegates with a recommendation to approve
– Refer the revised Model Veterinary Practice Act to the House of Delegates with a recommendation to approve

Carolyn Naun and I are your AVMA House of Delegates. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, comments or topics of discussion.

Aloha,
Leianne K. Lee Loy, DVM

Other AVMA Opportunities

Volunteer with AVMA

Volunteers are now invited to serve on AVMA’s Council on Education (COE). The deadline for receipt of applications for the COE is February 15, 2019. More information on the COE and the Member Application is available here.

AVMA Fellowship Program

Shape public policy while enhancing your knowledge of the political process! The AVMA is now accepting applications for the next AVMA Fellowship Program, which runs from the end of August 2019 through August 2020. The deadline for applications is February 8, 2019. All AVMA member veterinarians are eligible to apply. Please visit AVMA’s website for more info.

AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference Report

Every year, the HVMA sponsors one of its members to attend the Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago alongside the AVMA House of Delegates Meeting. In 2019, Dr. Jenee Odani represented the HVMA. Read her experience below.

This was my first time attending the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago (held this year: Jan 10-13, 2019). There were three learning tracks: Rising Leaders, Experienced Leaders, and Presiding Leaders. I could identify with some issues in each track and I was grateful that we could register for sessions in any of the tracks. The sessions I attended included leadership and personal development, veterinary debt initiatives, virtual care, and mentoring. My favorite session was conducted by GetMotiVETed, which taught me tricks on how to be more productive with my time and reinforced my belief that we are in the GREATEST profession of all! I enjoyed conversations with seasoned veterinary leaders as well as students and recent graduates. With new perspective and knowledge, I am more excited about the future of our profession and the rewarding ways that we can contribute to its growth. It was a great experience and I strongly urge anyone interested in learning more about organized veterinary medicine to consider attending next year!

Jenee S. Odani
HVMA Secretary

AVMA Update Jan 2019

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Winter Session and The Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC)

Aloha to you all and a belated Happy New Year!

The House of Delegates convened for the Winter Session in combination with the Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois, January 10-13.  This years theme was Evolution of Leadership – Learn, Grow, Lead, Evolve your Leadership Journey. The purpose of the VLC was to provide veterinary professionals, at all stages of their career, personal and professional leadership that benefits the individual attendee and the Veterinary Profession.  The conference included:

a) AVMA governance meetings

b) Continuing Education Sessions focused on leadership development

c) Network opportunities

At this conference, Rising Leaders are interacting with Experienced Leaders to expand leadership skills and gives everyone the tools to create a roadmap for our leadership journey.

Here is a summary of our AVMA House of Delegates Winter Session:

Membership

AVMA membership is strong with the association’s official membership at more than 93,400. AVMA retained a higher percentage of members to start the year. Three out of every four veterinarians are members of the AVMA.

Health Insurance is returning!

Beginning in July, members and their employees in the AVMA LIFE Trust, or a related entity, may be able to offer health insurance as an ‘association of employers.’ This means veterinarians who are employers – including those who are self-employed – might be eligible to purchase group health insurance for themselves, their families, and their employees through the AVMA family. The program is expected to build over time.

For more information and to sign up for the latest updates,  go to: AVMALife.org or call 800-621-6360.

Enhancing the utilization of veterinary technicians

During the House of Delegates business meeting, the HOD’s Veterinary Information Forum was committed to the topic of enhancing the utilization of veterinary technicians. Prior to the forum, AVMA members were asked to provide their input on the topic to their House representatives, and more than 400 comments were received.

The value of veterinary technicians is certain and that efforts need to be made across the profession to increase technician use and boost job satisfaction. Members of the House of Delegate recommends that the AVMA Board of Directors convene a task force to design a plan to improve veterinary technician utilization and that a progress report be shared with the HOD within a year.

Governance: House of Delegate Actions

HOD members also acted on several resolutions and bylaws amendments, including:

  • Model Veterinary Practice Act: Refer to the AVMA Board of Directors
    • Consideration of a revised version that incorporates input from HOD deliberations conducted during the meeting.
  • Membership Dues Increase: Approved
    • A resolution submitted by the AVMA Board of Directors to increase annual membership dues $30 in 2020, and, if necessary, up to $10 in 2021 and 2022 for regular and affiliate memberships. Reduced dues memberships will be made equal to 50% of the annual dues of regular members.
  • Bylaw amendment expanding the composition of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Services to include a credentialed veterinary technician.  Approved.
  • Bylaw amendment changing the name of the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine to the AVMA Council on Public Health. Approved
  • Bylaw amendment removing a statement of responsibility of the AVMA Council on Research. Approved.
  • Bylaw amendment removing a statement of responsibility of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents. Approved
  • Bylaw amendment that replaces the AVMA Judicial Council with an ad hoc hearing panel to adjudicate complaints of unethical conduct by AVMA members. Approved
  • Bylaw amendment related to the maintenance of House status for House of Delegates member organizations. Approved
  • Bylaw amendment expanding eligibility of membership on the AVMA Council on Public Health (formerly known as the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine). Approved

Keynote speaker Drew Dudley: Day One Leadership.

Leadership is more than money, power and influence.  Drew’s message is to focus on the “everyday leadership.” We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. Let us celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.  Create those moments that have powerful impacts and growth and that can be life changing for you and your organization. To learn more about Drew’s message refer to his Ted Talk on Leadership or enjoy his book: This is Day One, A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters.

Future VLC Meeting

January 9-12, 2020

VLC benefits veterinary professionals at all career stages to take on new challenges and leadership roles that benefit both the individual attendee and the veterinary profession. The benefits of attending the combined VLC and House of Delegates winter session are:

  • Evolve your leadership skills – Gain new insights, expand your personal tool set, and learn from those who’ve come before you.
  • Connect with a diverse network of leaders from across the veterinary profession.
  • Deepen your understanding of how the AVMA works and discover exciting opportunities to get involved!
  • Earn up to 8 hours of continuing education credit.

Please feel free to contact your AVMA Hawaii Alternate Delegate – Carolyn Naun, or myself – Leianne Lee Loy if you would like to learn more about this meeting (avma_delegate@hawaiivetmed.org).

AVMA Convention: A Monumental Experience

Save the date: August 2-6, 2019 in Washington D.C.

Aloha!

Leianne K. Lee Loy

Hawaii Delegate for AVMA

Feline Fix by Five Campaign

Why the change in recommended age of sterilization of cats?

Philip A. Bushby, DVM, MS, DACVS

In June of 2017, the AVMA formally endorsed the consensus document put forth by the Veterinary Task Force on Feline Sterilization for Age of Spay and Neuter Surgery, which recommends cats not intended for breeding be gonadectomized by five months of age. This joined endorsements from other veterinary medical and cat breeding associations including the
American Association of Feline Practitioners, Association of Shelter Veterinarians, American Animal Hospital Association, Winn Foundation, Catalyst Council, Cat Fancier’s Association and The International Cat Association. Feline Fix by Five (FFF) is a campaign promoted by the
Marian’s Dream Foundation to share this recommendation that has garnered such broad support. FFF was born out of awareness that cats can be reproductively active by 4 to 5 months of age, yet most veterinarians recommend spay/neuter of cats at 6 months of age or older. The
result of this mismatch between age at which cats can become pregnant and the recommended age of sterilization is demonstrated any time one walks into a local animal shelter.

Animal shelters are generally overrun with kittens, the vast majority of which are the result of unplanned and unexpected pregnancies of young cats. A survey conducted in the State of Massachusetts revealed surprising results. While many people believe that pet-overpopulation is the result of pets that are left intact for their entire life, the opposite is true. Cats that were eventually spayed accounted for 87% of all litters born. [1]

Cat owners who are unsure of when to have their cat sterilized or simply wait until 6 months of age or later are faced with the dilemma of what to do with an unexpected litter of kittens. Too often those kittens are relinquished to local shelters and too often those kittens are euthanized. The problem was not that the owners refused to spay or neuter their pet; it was that they didn’t have it done in time.

Esther Mechler of the Marian’s Dream Foundation, who initiated the FFF campaign, has stated that “the number of births prevented – simply by changing the recommended age for spay/neuter of cats from 6 months to between 4 and 5 months – could reduce the numbers of shelter intakes enough to balance the number of potential adopters with available cats and
kittens. We could end the overpopulation of cats by this one simple change.” [2]

As a profession, we need to recognize that there is, at present, no scientifically sound basis for waiting until 6 months of age or older to sterilize cats and no contraindications for spay/neuter at 4 to 5 months of age. Anesthetic concerns about juvenile surgery voiced in the 60s and 70s
are no longer valid. There are many anesthetic drugs and protocols in use today that are safe in cats as young as 6 weeks of age. Old fears that castration of juvenile male cats would predispose to urinary obstruction were disproven in the 90’s. [3]

There are numerous known health benefits for spay/neuter in cats, in addition to the population management benefits, and there is “no evidence to suggest that pediatric gonadectomy by 5 months of age is linked to any
increased risk of disease.” [4] A survey conducted in 2000 of veterinarians who were, at that time, spaying and neutering cats under 5 months of age, confirmed that the surgeries were easier, faster, and had fewer complications than spay/neuter of cats at 6 months of age or older. [5]

So, what should the practicing veterinarian do to make this change? Simply add one more appointment to your standard kitten wellness protocols. Make no changes in current vaccination and parasite control recommendations except add an appointment for spay/neuter two to three weeks after the last kitten vaccination. Owner compliance will be increased,
surgeries will be easier, and, in time, local shelters will not be overrun with kittens.

For more information on Feline Fix by Five go to http://www.felinefixbyfive

For more information on the AVMA’s position on spay neuter go to
http://www.avma.org/spayneuter

1. Manning MM & Rowan AN, Companion animal demographics and sterilization status: Results from a survey in four Massachusetts towns. Anthrozoos 5 (3).
2. Esther Mechler, Personal Communication, October 25, 2017.
3. Stubbs WP Scrugges SL, et al BMS. Prepubertal gonadectomy in the domestic feline: Effects on skeletal, physical and behavioral development. Vet Surg. 1993;22.
4. Dale S. When to Spay/Neuter Cats? Vet Consensus Says Fix by Five Months. Vet Pract News. 2016.
5. Land TDVM, Wall SDVM. Survey of the Coalition of Spay/Neuter Veterinarians. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000;216(5).

AVMA Update July 2018

Aloha and Greetings from Denver Colorado, the location for the 2018 AVMA House of Delegates Summer Session (July 12-13) and AVMA Convention (July 13-17).

The House of Delegates (HOD) is the principal body within the Association
responsible for establishing policy and providing direction for matters relating to veterinary medicine. The House of Delegates consist of one (1) Delegate and one (1) Alternate Delegate appointed by veterinary organizations as stated in the HOD By-Laws.

For the past 27 years, Cordell Chang has been the Hawaii Veterinary Medical
Association member to the House of Delegates. This year, 2018, Cordell will
retire as a Delegate. To honor him for his years of service, the AVMA chose him to give the Invocation to this years HOD meeting. Due to family
responsibilities, he was not able to attend. It was my honor to read his Invocation to the Delegates. Cordell has been a shining light and a personal mentor for me, and like so many of the members have commented, “We will truly miss Cordell!”

This year’s agenda included the following topics (and their action items):

Dog Devocalization
– A proposal to express more forceful opposition to debarking was turned down and was then voted to refer the proposal back to the AVMA Board of Directors for reconsideration. The Association’s current policy states that debarking should be used only as an alternative to euthanasia, after efforts to change a dog’s behavior have failed.

Breeding Guidelines – The AVMA House Of Delegates voted for the AVMA to collaborate with others, such as American Kennel Club and Cat Fanciers, on breeding practices and guidelines to minimize inherited disorders in dogs and cats.

Foot and Mouth Disease – Support of a vaccination policy and recommendations on laboratory testing, preparedness activities and messaging. Action: Approval by House of Delegates.

License Portability – What is the need and what are the possible avenues for veterinarians to move across jurisdictions for temporary relief and disaster response? Recommendation from HOD: No action at this time.

Student Debt – Think outside the box. What hasn’t been tried?
Recommendations from HOD:
– Board of Directors investigate methods to make available financial advisor(s) to help veterinary applicants, students, and recent graduates manage the cost of education.
– AVMA investigate and promote strategies for private practitioners to assist students and recent graduates in managing the cost of their education. dents that is financially sustainable for the AVMA.
– AVMA investigate the development of a low interest loan program for veterinary students that is financially sustainable for the AVMA
– AVMA develop a toolbox of advocacy strategies to assist state VMAs to promote increased funding for higher education and loan repayment programs.

Globalization – What role should the AVMA play internationally?
The AVMA staff will create a communication plan for educating AVMA members about its current international activities, develop tools to assess member interest in personal involvement in international initiatives and global volunteer opportunities, and explore international AVMA membership category models.

If anyone would like to discuss more of the above topics or HOD, please feel free to contact me through the HVMA website.

After two days of House of Delegate responsibilities it was now time to learn
(many hours of CE available), socialize (attend a Colorado Rockies Baseball
game), network (Alumni receptions), and be empowered through the words of Keynote speaker Shiza Shaid and participate in community service – Street Dog Clinic (caring for the dogs/cats belonging to the homeless). It was great to see many Hawaii Colleagues participate in this year’s conference entitled “Elevate Your Passion”.

I invite you to the 2019 AVMA Conference in Washington D.C. August 2-9!

Aloha!
Leianne K. Lee Loy, DVM
Hawaii Alternate Delegate for AVMA

AVMF Extends Disaster Relief to Hawaii Veterinarians

AVMF Disaster Relief and Reimbursement Grants

 The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) provides two grant programs to help veterinarians and the animals they care for during times of disaster. Grants are available to support victims of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires or oil spills.

 Disaster Reimbursement Grants for Veterinary Medical Care

Purpose: The AVMF disaster reimbursement grants are for the purpose of ensuring the emergency veterinary medical care of animal victims of disaster.

 Awards: Up to $5,000 may be issued per grantee for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by veterinarians providing emergency veterinary medical care to animal victims of disasters.  AVMF reimburses for the actual cost of medical supplies purchased directly from a vendor. Modest boarding costs may also be covered. 

Disaster Relief Grant for Veterinarians

Purpose: The AVMF disaster relief grants are for the purpose of assisting veterinarians who have experienced an emergency need for basic necessities due to a disaster. The grants would cover items such as clothing, temporary housing, transportation and meals that were needed immediately following a disaster.

 Awards: Up to $2,000 may be issued per grantee for out-of-pocket expenses incurred immediately following a disaster. AVMF reimburses for the actual cost of items purchased directly from a vendor. Modest housing costs may be covered for emergency temporary shelter.

 Application Procedure

The applications are posted on the AVMF website. Applicants should follow the online directions for submitting the application and the expense chart. Limited funds are currently available and approved on a first come, first served basis.

Deadline:  Applications must be received no later than 120 days following the disaster.

 More Information: Please contact Cheri Kowal, Senior Manager, Programs and Operations, 847-285-6691 or CKowal@AVMA.org

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AVMA District X Representative, George Bishop, presented an update from the AVMA at the HVMA annual meeting.

  • Dr. Janet Donlin is the new AVMA EVP/CEO, replacing Dr. Ron DeHaven who recently retired.
  • There will be a cyberbullying hotline available for members in January 2017. A 30 minute free consultation is included as part of the service.
  • Member wellness/ wellbeing and the student debt issue are top priorities for the AVMA currently.
  • Highlights of recent advocacy efforts:
    • The AVMA has been actively working with the USDA on the Horse Protection Act, urging regulatory changes to eliminate soring.
    • AVMA is also working actively to defeat the Fairness to Pet Owners Act.
  • The 2016 Veterinary Economic Reports Series will be released over the course of 2016. The reports can be viewed free by members at https://www.avma.org/PracticeManagement/BusinessIssues/Pages/AVMA-Economic-Report-Subscription.aspx
  • AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference is January 12-14, 2017 in Chicago.
  • AVMA Convention is July 21-25, 2017 in Indianapolis.
  • More AVMA updates can be viewed at www.avma.org

Cordell Chang and Leianne LeeLoy are the Hawaii delegates to the AVMA.