2020 Membership Renewal

If you haven’t already done so, it’s not too late to renew your 2020 membership! The Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon our member participation and dues. Your dues enable us to host regular CE, provide scholarships for veterinary and veterinary technician students, advocate on behalf of the veterinary profession in Hawaii, and give back to our community. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HVMA immediately fought for Hawaii veterinarians to be included as essential service providers, provided timely information on COVID-19 updates and resources, and helped to secure multiple pet food donations for affected families throughout Hawaii. We understand that 2020 is a difficult year for many, but if it is within your budget, HVMA would greatly appreciate your continued support.

Scam Targeting Licensees

The Professional and Vocational Licensing Division warns of fake calls to Hawaii-registered licensees. These calls have been made with actual Hawaii board phone numbers showing up on Caller ID. A professional or vocational licensee that is under investigation by the department would first be notified in writing from the Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO). RICO will also never ask for private or sensitive information over the telephone.

With any suspicious phone call, licensees are advised to hang up before revealing any personal information and initiate a return phone call by calling a number researched on their own (see https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/contact/), to ensure that they are speaking with the actual agency. Read more here.

Social Media and HVMA

by Michelle Barbieri, MS, DVM, HVMA Oahu representative

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend on a run and learned about the Influencers in the Wild page on Instagram. If you haven’t checked it out, and are looking for a laugh and a bit of relief from the realities of 2020, you should. It shows bystander videos of people that are trying to get that perfect video or picture worthy of social media stardom, along with all the really poor decisions they make in that pursuit (I believe this is where TikTok comes in, but that’s really pushing the extent of my understanding!).

Why am I writing about this in the HVMA newsletter? Well, while it shows that I am far from the cutting edge of understanding what’s “in” (especially in terms of social media), I also recognize that there are lots of ways that information gets shared these days. And that is why the HVMA Board decided it was worth trying to start sharing some information on Facebook.

Some of you may have been aware of a private Facebook group called “COVID-19 discussion group for Hawaii veterinarians” that was initiated by HVMA earlier this year. We will be reframing that page to include more than just COVID-19 specific content. It will remain a veterinarian-only page. In order to join, you do not need to be an HVMA member, but we will require that those interested in joining the group answer a short questionnaire and have a current member of the group sponsor them; this helps us ensure that it is kept as a safe space for dialogue between professionals.

We will also soon have a public HVMA page that will allow us to serve as a resource to connect with our community, share information, and show the outward-facing side of the HVMA. I hope that you will all engage as these pages go live and help us maximize the potential that they have for our professional group and our community as a whole.

Letter from the President – Nov 2020

Aleisha Swartz, DVM
HVMA President

I write this with a bit of sadness knowing we are missing our usual opportunity  to see friends and colleagues at the annual meeting. This year has brought challenges like no other in our lifetimes and our connection to one another has helped us all adapt and find ways to continue our very important work. I hope you can all join us at our virtual meeting Saturday 11/14, and that we can resume in person gatherings in the not too distant future. 

The HVMA Executive Board continues to advocate for members and the animals and people of Hawaii. We have continued our meetings virtually and uninterrupted during this time. Your membership dues are essential in maintaining our ability to continue as an organization so please renew if you have not already done so. 

Our involvement as a supporting agency to the state and counties during emergencies has also continued. As flights outside the state were reduced in March the opportunities for adoption placement outside the state became extremely limited. Shelters across Hawaii have relied on out of state transport for adoption placement when local opportunities are exhausted. The lack of flights put our local shelters at risk of being beyond their capacity and reducing their ability to help other animals in need.  Greater Good Charities responded to a request for assistance to transport pets to the continental US. They have coordinated an unprecedented flight of dogs and cats to animal welfare organizations in the pacific northwest. Many of the pets have adoptive homes already before they even land! This is an effort we have supported closely working with HI-EMA, GGC, Wings of Rescue and shelters from Kauai, Oahu, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island. This has also provided the opportunity for further disaster planning, collaboration and training for the state, our association and local animal welfare organizations.

It has been an honor to serve as the HVMA President the last two years and I will continue to support the association as I move on to the role of Past President. Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything the HVMA can do to support your work as veterinarians in Hawaii.

Aloha,
Aleisha Swartz

Letter from the President – Aug 2020

Aleisha Swartz, DVM
HVMA President

I hope this message finds you all well. This has been a challenging year so far for us all, regardless of practice type. The support from one another has made a significant positive impact on the ability to be more resilient in the face of incredible uncertainty and change. 

The HVMA Executive Board has been working hard to provide support for members, the veterinary community in general as well as the animals and people of Hawaii. We are coming up with creative solutions to continue to provide continuing education opportunities, increase connection between members, and are participating in the emergency response in partnership with HI-EMA.  Please be sure to renew your membership. Even though the annual conference will not be as we hoped in 2020, we are still working hard on your behalf and your dues help keep this organization going.

Since March HVMA has received donations of 2 containers of dog/cat food as well as coupons for several thousand bags of food from Greater Good. The Humane Society of the United States donated the cost of transportation of a recent shipment. This food is available to pet owners suffering from COVID-related financial hardship through community foodbanks and human service agencies.  We have also shared food with local humane societies for their pet food banks. We are currently supporting efforts to secure donations of feed for horses whose owners are also suffering from financial hardship. And during all of this we are working with HI-EMA in disaster response as needed, most recently in the hurricane near miss (thankfully). 

While we were trying to flatten the curve, reduce the spread of COVID and continue our practice of veterinary medicine we were confronted with another painful reality. A bystander recorded the murder of George Floyd on a public street and the experience that exists for so many people became impossible to avoid any longer.  Some may ask what does this have to do with veterinary medicine? A video recently released by the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association in partnership with 9 other diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) affinity organizations highlights the existence of racism and discrimination in our profession. The video was shared at the AVMA HOD meeting last week and I highly encourage everyone to watch it. We are fortunate in Hawaii to live in a place with greater diversity than most, but we are not exempt from racism. There is a need to become more informed as individuals and take action to change the lack of diversity and presence of racism in the profession.  For more information including resources, links to other affinity organizations, and how to get involved visit https://www.mcvma.org/wakeup.  

The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has also recognized the importance of increasing diversity and states that “racism is a public health issue, and every sector of society has a role to play in finding a cure.”  Visit the AAVMC’s website for more information on what steps they are doing to increase diversity in our profession. They host a podcast shared on a youtube and soundcloud channel for those interested in becoming more informed, links can be found here https://www.aavmc.org/diversity/diversity-and-inclusion-on-air.

If you have feedback on what the HVMA can do to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in veterinary medicine in Hawaii please contact me. 

Aloha,
Aleisha Swartz

2020 HVMA Conference Cancelled

Dear HVMA Members,

Thank you so much for your positive feedback and support for our annual conference. We sincerely want to meet your expectations and provide the same quality CE and warm fellowship that we have in the past. We regret that we have decided to cancel our 2020 Annual Conference (November 12th-15th) due to multiple factors relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited capacity in our exhibit hall and lecture rooms to accommodate physical distancing requirements, increased risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2 in an indoor convention involving many people from outside of Hawaii, and the unknowns of the COVID-19 situation in the fall.

HVMA will hold our Annual Business Meeting virtually on November 14, 2020, and will also be offering monthly CE webinars starting in July 2020. We will be planning to hold our next full in-person Annual Conference during November 11-14, 2021 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions for virtual CE topics or other ways the HVMA can support you. May you, your veterinary teams, and your families stay well and safe during these challenging times.

Aloha,
Your HVMA Board

In Remembrance – Dr. Jessica Massengale

Jessica Massengale, DVM

Dr. Jessica Claire Lee Massengale, 34, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, died peacefully on Thursday, July 9, 2020. She was born in Huntington, West Virginia, on May 18, 1986 to Roger and Debra Massengale and baptized as a child at First United Methodist Church, Paintsville, Kentucky.

A life-long learner, Jessi received her high school diploma in 2004 from Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia, graduated in 2008 from Midway College with her Bachelor Degree in Equine Therapy and earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2014 from Auburn University. She was a dedicated and beloved doctor of animals at Haiku Veterinarian Clinic in Kaneohe. She loved all things pertaining to horses and rode on Equestrian teams for both Virginia Episcopal School and Midway College. She had an adventuresome spirit, was learning to kayak, and especially enjoyed hiking with her dogs.

In addition to her parents, she is survived by her sister, Sarah Anne and brother-in-law Mårten Waern, Stockholm, Sweden; maternal grandmother, Clara Marcum, Ashland, Kentucky; paternal grandmother, Norma Jean Massengale, Wayne County, Kentucky; aunts, Catherine (Fred) Waits, Shelbyville, Kentucky; Linda (John) Lash, Athens, Georgia; uncle, Scott Massengale, Wayne County, Kentucky; and many cousins. Her family, a host of friends, colleagues, clients, and her faithful dog companions, Bodhi and Marley, will miss her.

Memorial contributions may be made to your local animal shelter, pet charity, or allow an animal to adopt you in Jessi’s memory.

Letter from the President – April 2020

Aleisha Swartz, DVM
HVMA President

I hope this finds you, your ohana, staff and colleagues in good health. I don’t think any of us would have predicted the rapid changes that have occurred across the planet since the January newsletter. Normal as we knew it and our regular daily operations feel like a bit of a distant memory right now. But thankfully in every dark cloud there are many silver linings.

Veterinarians, like other public health stewards, are trained problem solvers and we have been working hard to solve our problems, from those at home to in our businesses and in our communities. I have been amazed seeing the innovation and effort by Hawaii veterinarians as they work to protect their teams, ensure care for animals in need and service to the people of Hawaii and beyond.

The HVMA has been working hard on behalf of members and the animals and citizens of Hawaii during the pandemic. We have proactively and successfully advocated for more flexible use of telemedicine during this challenging time to maintain care for animals while keeping people safe. We have set up a Facebook group for Hawaii veterinarians to keep in touch and share with one another and have hosted weekly virtual meetings where we discuss the current knowledge about SARS CoV-2, its impact on animals and practices. We responded to a request for assistance from HI-EMA and City and County of Honolulu to support pet owners during this emergency. During this time, we have spent many hours each week participating in HI-EMA and Honolulu Department of Emergency Management calls to ensure animal needs are met. The HVMA was able to secure a grant from Greater Good of 22 pallets of dog and cat food and 4 pallets of litter to be used for COVID-related emergency sheltering or for pet owners in need due to financial hardship so many are currently facing. The shipping to Hawaii was graciously donated by a local business and The Salvation Army was instrumental in coordinating the food delivery from California. It has been delivered to animal shelters and human food service distribution partners on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. We will continue to seek support for pet owners in financial distress so that they can continue to care for their family members during this challenging time. We know the importance of the human-animal bond is perhaps more important than ever during this time of social distancing.

I encourage you to reach out to us if there is anything, we can do to support your work and businesses. More than at any other time it is essential that we are caring for ourselves and doing what we can to stay healthy. Get lots of sleep, eat good food, enjoy the beautiful outdoors when you can and make time for self-care. We cannot care for others if we do not first care for ourselves. If you have been contemplating taking up meditation for a long time now and need a reason this is a good one. Just sitting quietly and breathing for a brief time can work wonders to help manage the stressful times a little bit better. Take care of your families and colleagues as well. Be kind to one another and give thanks to all of those working so hard to keep us safe. I feel so fortunate to be in a state that has done so much to protect its citizens. I also feel so fortunate to be surrounded by peers in a profession that is critical to preventing and solving this and the next zoonotic outbreak. The importance and need for veterinarians is greater now than ever.

On behalf of the board I wish you health and well-being in the rest of 2020 and beyond. I hope to hear more from you on what we can do to support you as a Hawaii veterinarian.

Aloha,
Aleisha Swartz

New Board Members Wanted!

2020 is an election year and we are looking for anyone interested in bringing new ideas and energy to our organization. The positions open for nominations include Pres-Elect, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive VP, Oahu Reps and Kauai Rep. Please don’t be shy and contact the nominating committee for more info!

SARS-CoV-2 Animal Testing

Routine testing of animals for COVID-19 is NOT recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV), or the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials. Nor is it recommended by key federal agencies, including the CDC and USDA.

Current expert understanding is that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted person-to-person. There is currently no evidence that animals can transmit this virus to people. In rare instances, people have spread the virus to certain animals.

Veterinarians are strongly encouraged to rule out more common causes for clinical signs in animals before considering testing for SARS-CoV-2. The CDC, USDA, and other federal partners have created guidance, including a table of epidemiological risk factors and clinical features for SARS-CoV-2 in animals to help guide decisions regarding animal testing.

The decision to test an animal should be made collaboratively between the attending veterinarian and local, state, and/or federal public health and animal health officials after careful consideration of this guidance as provided.

AVMA-AAVLD-NASPHV-NASAHO Joint Statement on Animal Testing

Hawaii State Dept of Ag Guidelines on Animal Testing


Labs with SARS-CoV-2 PCR Animal Tests