In Remembrance – Lei Yamasaki

The Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association regretfully reports the unexpected passing of Dr. Lei Sachiko Yamasaki, D.V.M., M.S. on May 8, 2021. Lei was born and raised in Honolulu, HI, graduated from Roosevelt High School, and earned a B.A. in Zoology (with a Marine Options Program Certificate) at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She completed an M.S. degree in Animal Sciences also at UHM, and she received her DVM from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. During her years as a student, she participated in many programs that led to cherished friendships and future collaborations, including: Hanauma Bay, Oceanic Institute, HDOA Aquaculture Development Program, AquaVet I/II, Los Angeles Zoo, University of Arizona Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory, USGS Honolulu Field Station, USDA APHIS/Veterinary Services, and the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory.

Following graduation, she returned to Hawaii to work at Moana Technologies, LLC and in 2012 joined the Hawaii Department of Agriculture as the Aquaculture Veterinary Medical Officer. At HDOA, she supervised the Hawaii Shrimp Health Certification Program and provided dedicated diagnostic and regulatory services to support the aquaculture industry that she loved. She worked on projects relating to the presence of Nile tilapia and Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis in Hawaii and molecular and histologic diagnostics for fish/shrimp/oyster pathogens. She supported education and aquaculture in the community as a Hawaii State Science & Engineering Fair judge, Technical Committee member for the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, Advisory Subcommittee member on invertebrate and aquatic biota for the State of Hawaii, and many other events with endless energy and a smile that lit up every room.

Lei was a lifelong scholar and never tired of pursuing new projects or learning new things. Yet she still managed to carve time out to enjoy the natural beauty of the world through her hobbies of surfing, hiking, fishing, traveling, conservation, and animal rescue. She was a dedicated and respected veterinarian whose love of animals was evident in the menagerie of animals that she cared for over the years: her beloved Simon, Emma, Mao, Copper, Atsila, and many others.

Lei will be forever remembered and missed by her family (parents Michael and Joann, sister Ann), friends, and colleagues from around the world.

Specialty/ER Service Interruption

The Hawaii Board of Veterinary Medicine has recently reinterpreted Hawaii’s veterinary practice law and begun rejecting the practice of veterinary sponsorship. This practice previously allowed many out-of-state specialists to share their services with our clients on a short-term or intermittent basis. All of us have benefited from referring our clients to visiting dermatologists, radiologists, surgeons, as well as our few emergency care centers that operate 24/7. This interruption in veterinary sponsorship has limited service hours at emergency clinics and worsened the backlog of surgery cases in Hawaii.

If your clients are being affected, please encourage them to file a complaint with the DCCA and Board of Veterinary Medicine to insist that they must immediately return to honoring the practice of veterinary sponsorship in Hawaii as clearly allowed by HRS 471(2)-5.

Veterinarians as COVID-19 Vaccinators

Submitted by the American Veterinary Medical Association

The AVMA has been working hard for the past few months, as veterinarians have been increasingly discussed as needing to be among those able to assist in efforts to vaccinate people against COVID, to have veterinarians specifically included in the declarations under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), which authorizes the HHS Secretary to issue emergency public health declarations and provides limited immunity from liability to those covered under the act.

As of March 12, 2021, veterinarians and veterinary students are included in the PREP Act:

· It allows veterinarians who are licensed to practice under the law of any state to administer COVID vaccines in any jurisdiction in association with a COVID vaccination effort by a state, local, tribal, or territorial authority or by an institution in which the COVID vaccine is administered.

·        This also applies to veterinarians who have held an active license or certification under the law of any state within the last five years which is inactive, expired or lapsed, as well as veterinary students with appropriate training in administering vaccines. The intent is to include recently retired veterinarians who may want to help.

·        Today’s amendment preempts any state law that would otherwise prohibit veterinarians or veterinary students who are a “qualified person” under the PREP Act from prescribing, dispensing, or administering COVID vaccines or other covered COVID countermeasures.

·        Veterinarians and veterinary students will be afforded liability protections in accordance with the PREP Act and the terms of the amendment. However, specific conditions must be met in order for the authorization to administer the vaccines and the liability protections to apply. These liability protections apply from March 11, 2021, through October 1, 2024.

·        In order for the authorization and liability protections to apply, veterinarians and veterinary students must be participating in association with a COVID vaccination effort by a state, local, tribal, or territorial authority, or by an institution in which the COVID vaccine is administered. Additional specific requirements also must be met, such as having basic certification in CPR, completing the CDC COVID vaccination modules, an observation period, etc. There is a separate section of the declaration that applies to those in the uniformed services and for federal employees, contractors and volunteers when authorized to administer COVID vaccine.

·        While the liability outlined in the PREP Act is broad, it does not apply to willful misconduct, and the federal government does not provide a legal defense in the event that you are sued. Your state may have separate liability protections, along with separate requirements to qualify, and may or may not provide a legal defense. Veterinary malpractice will not likely respond to claims arising from a veterinarian intentionally vaccinating people against COVID.

More information on vaccination volunteer requirements

Sign up for Hawaii’s volunteer Medical Reserve Corps here

PREP Fact Sheet that Includes Veterinarians as Qualified Health Professionals

Leianne Lee Loy Running for AVMA Board of Directors Representing Hawaii’s District

Message from Leianne K. Lee Loy, current AVMA Hawaii Delegate and candidate for AVMA Board of Directors Representing District X:

Aloha Colleagues!

I ask for your support and vote to be the next member of the AVMA Board
of Directors. You will be receiving an email from the AVMA with a ballot,
my biography and “Seeking Statement”. You will have from March 1-31st to
vote.

I share with you a platform for which I bring my diverse perspective:
a) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – educating and advocating for our Veterinary Community.
b) Quality of life for the Veterinary Community – raising a family and caring for our elderly family members while working.
c) Retaining and Maintaining AVMA membership throughout your veterinary Career.
d) Support of “support staff” – veterinary nurses/technicians building a career that brings satisfaction.
e) Critique of the AVMA during COVID 19 – how well did we support the Veterinary Community? There are 500,000 Americans who lost their lives to
COVID19; how were animals/veterinarians affected by those lives lost? As the AVMA reviews their response to this pandemic, strategic plans can be made to prepare for future health emergencies.

An email message will be sent to all eligible voters, providing instructions
and a link to a secure voting website. The email is sent from the address
AVMAelection@avma.org. Please vote!

More information available here:
www.fb.com/VoteLeianneForAVMABoard
www.instagram.com/leianneleeloyforavmaboard

Conservation Medicine Spotlight: Avian Translocations with Pacific Rim Conservation

by Adrien Pesque, DVM

Pacific Rim Conservation, a nonprofit organization, has the mission of maintaining and restoring native bird diversity, populations, and ecosystems in Hawaii and the Pacific Region. In an effort to combat the threats to seabird populations including climate change and non-native predators (feral cats, pigs, rats, etc), chicks are translocated to predator proof fenced refuges on the main Hawaiian islands where they will fledge and return to breed. On Oahu, black-footed albatross, Bonin petrel, and Tristram’s storm-petrel chicks were translocated from Midway and Tern Island to James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. On Kauai, endangered Hawaiian petrels and Newell’s shearwater face similar threats of habitat degradation and non-native predators, but also collisions with power lines and structures exacerbated by light attraction. Individuals of these two species were translocated from the Kauai mountaintops to a predator proof fenced area within the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. These new breeding colonies will provide a safe haven for new generations to come. 

Dr. Adrien Pesqué, the staff wildlife veterinarian, joined the team this year and created a mobile veterinary clinic to oversee the health of the chicks. Clinical cases included avian pox lesions, osteomyelitis of the beak, a non-healing corneal ulcer, and aspiration pneumonia secondary to gastric foreign bodies. Plastics and fishing material in the GI tract were present in our chicks and continue to cause life threatening problems for ocean wildlife. 

Dr. Suzanne Pluskat, the staff wildlife veterinarian stationed on Midway Atoll, worked with partners to ensure the safety of the endangered Laysan duck for the anticipated rodent eradication on the island. Laysan duck cases involved pododermatitis, complicated corneal ulcers, femoral fracture repair and physical therapy. During the “construction season” (July-September when there are no albatross), many white tern chicks and the first ever black noddy chick were salvaged and fledged successfully.  

Pacific Rim Conservation partners with multiple government and non-profit groups to make this work possible. To learn more about these translocations and other research projects, please visit www.pacificrimconservation.org

Meet A Board Member: Leilani Sim-Godbehere

Leilani Sim-Godbehere, DVM
Kauai County Representative

Dr. Leilani Sim-Godbehere is currently our longest-serving member on the HVMA Executive Board. She was first involved as an Oahu Delegate, then as President-Elect, followed by President, and currently as the Kauai Delegate.

Dr. Sim-Godbehere received her DVM degree from Kansas State University in 1983. She has been in small animal private practice since graduation – first in Visalia, CA and then on Oahu for 18 years. She also held a four-year stint as a Veterinary Medical Officer for the Department of Agriculture at the Animal Quarantine Station from 1986 to 1990.

She is currently working as a relief doctor on a regular basis at the Kapaa Animal Clinic on Kauai and serves as the main caregiver for her elderly mom. She has always enjoyed the camaraderie and the privilege of belonging to such a lofty yet humble profession. Being involved in organized veterinary medicine has allowed her to give a little back to her colleagues and profession.

Dr. Sim-Godbehere’s other passions include her family, her dogs, horse, tortoises, rabbit, cats, and garden. She loves walking, swimming, horseback riding, and skiing. She is thankful to God for all the blessings he has given her.

HVMA Supports PAWS Across the Pacific

When the pandemic reduced flights to and from Hawaii last spring one little-known impact was that on our local animal shelters. Many island shelters and rescues rely on transport of dogs and cats to the continental US for placement options when no adopters are found locally. The cancellation of flights reduced the availability of space for pets to catch a ride. Shelters across the state made every effort to foster and house the increasing number of animals but many reported this was reducing their capacity to help other animals in need. 

Greater Good Charities (GGC) stepped in to assist and coordinate an unprecedented rescue flight in this time of emergency. GGC had previously supported the Hawaii community by donating thousands of pounds of pet food since the pandemic began. A multi-organization effort supported by HIEMA and HVMA resulted in the safe transport of nearly 600 dogs and cats from Hawaii to Seattle. On October 28 a charter Hercules C-130 cargo plane flew from Oakland, CA to Lihue, then Honolulu, Kahului and Hilo picking up animals along the way. All pets were examined by a veterinarian and given a health certificate prior to the flight and a large team including veterinarians were available at Boeing Field in Seattle to ensure the animals were comfortable and healthy on arrival. Many pets were adopted within days of arrival. For more information and photos and video on the largest ever pet rescue flight visit GGC Paws Across the Pacific Page.

This is the first part of an emergency support effort from GGC that will include providing emergency sheltering supplies, disaster sheltering training and more to area animal welfare organizations.

Mahalo to the sponsors who helped make it happen: The Animal Rescue Site, Banfield Foundation, Royal Canin, VCA Animal Hospitals, PEDIGREE Foundation, Petco Foundation, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation, MuttNation Foundation, Kamaka Air Inc, Air Charter Service, and Jackson Galaxy.

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

What to do when marine wildlife need help?

Submitted by Michelle Barbieri, DVM


There are lots of ways that you can help Hawaii’s marine wildlife, both as an individual and if your clinic gets calls or inquiries. It may be completely normal for an animal (such as a green sea turtle or Hawaiian monk seal) to rest on the beach, but those sightings are informative even if the animal is safe and healthy. You can encourage clients to report sightings or concerns by calling the state-wide Marine Animal Stranding and Reporting Hotline at (888) 256-9840. This menu-based hotline will divert calls to the island- and wildlife-specific point of contact, and if the call comes in after hours, it will be checked first thing the next day, so always leave contact information for follow up questions. This is the best go-to contact number to keep at the front desk of your clinic or stored in your phone.

Many species (especially sea turtles and marine mammals) are protected by law. That means that even if you are a licensed, practicing, and well-intentioned veterinarian, conducting medical procedures on them requires specialized permits and expertise, so it should always be done by appropriately trained and permitted stranding response personnel. If your clinic gets a call about a marine animal in need, it is best to refer them directly to the Stranding Hotline for assistance. Please do not attempt to treat an animal yourself.

It is also important to give wildlife a safe distance, avoid approaching, touching, or otherwise disturbing them because rest is important to their biology, and they can be a danger to your safety. You can also help by advising clients to keep pet cats indoors, which will reduce the risk of disease spread, namely toxoplasmosis.

Between Jan-July 2020, 18 monk seal pups were born in the main Hawaiian Islands: 5 on Oʻahu, 11 on Molokaʻi, and 1 each on Kaua‘i and Hawaiʻi Island. Encountering female seals that are nursing their pups is a situation in which it is important to be especially cautious, as these seals in particular can be aggressive.

The Fishing Around Seals and Turtles program provides guidelines on how to fish safely around these animals and what to do if a fisherman accidentally hooks one while fishing. Again, if someone contacts you about an entangled or hooked animal please refer them to the stranding hotline.

If you suspect illegal or suspicious activity, it can be reported to: (a) the Hawaii DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) hotline at (808) 643-DLNR, or preferably on the DLNRTip App for your mobile device; or (b) NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline (800) 853-1964. The Stranding Hotline links to DOCARE as well.

For additional information contact: RespectWildlife@noaa.gov
For immediate assistance or to report marine wildlife emergencies call: 1-888-256-9840
If you are interested in having electronic materials with this information that you can print and post at your clinic, please contact Dr. Michelle Barbieri.

Microchip Regulation Update

On July 1, 2020, the City and County of Honolulu implemented mandatory microchip identification for cats and dogs over the age of four months. This replaces the City and County of Honolulu’s dog license tag requirement, but does not replace the requirement that cats allowed outdoors have visible identification. Any dog or cat without a microchip who is impounded by Hawaiian Humane Society or taken into custody by an animal rescue nonprofit must have a microchip implanted before release. The microchipping obligation does not apply to private individuals returning lost pets or to veterinary clinics, but we hope you will urge your clients to comply with the law. Clients with a new pet who is already microchipped should be informed that they have 30 days to update the pet’s microchip with their owner information.

In addition, the Hawaiian Humane Society will no longer be updating their microchip registry. Instead, they are recommending that veterinarians help pet owners register their information with the microchip manufacturer or with a free online database such as FoundAnimals.org. Pet owners who have microchips implanted by your clinic also have a legal obligation to register their contact information with an online registry within 30 days. Please do not send microchip information to the Hawaiian Humane Society at this time.

Another provision of the new law requires that any intact dog impounded as stray three times in a 12-month period must be spayed/neutered before the dog can be returned to its owner unless a licensed veterinarian finds the dog is medically unfit for sterilization.

Questions or comments may be directed to the Hawaiian Humane Society at info@hawaiianhumane.org or 356-2200.

Update from Hawaiian Humane Society

July 1 marked the implementation of the most significant overhaul of Oahu’s animal welfare ordinance in 25 years. It made changes in three major areas:

  • Stray animal handling
  • Pet identification
  • Routinely stray dogs

The pet identification provisions are expected to affect the greatest number of pet owners.

FAQs

What law has changed?
Revised Ordinance of Honolulu Chapter 7: Animals and Fowl

How did the rules change regarding stray animal holding?
Hawaiian Humane now has legal custody of any stray dog or cat with microchip identification after five days in its care, down from nine. Dogs wearing a current county license tag still must be held for a minimum of nine days. The kenneling fee for stray animals has increased to $10 per day from $2.50. There is still no kenneling charge for animals reclaimed within 24 hours. This is not a legal requirement, but Hawaiian Humane is urging pet owners who travel, particularly if they will not have email or cell phone access, to list their pet sitter or veterinarian as a secondary contact on their microchip registration in the event that their animal gets lost while they are away.

What are the new rules for pet identification?
All dogs and cats are now required to have microchip identification. Pet cats allowed outdoors are still required to have visible identification. That is highly recommended for dogs, as well, but not legally required.

What if you have a current dog license?
Owner information can still be updated with the City and County of Honolulu. No new dog licenses are being sold and licenses can no longer be renewed.

What about microchip registration?
Clinics that wish to upload microchip information should do so with the manufacturer’s database, not Hawaiian Humane. Hawaiian Humane is no longer maintaining a separate microchip database for Oahu and pet owners are no longer legally required to register their microchips with Hawaiian Humane. Under the new ordinance, pet owners who have microchips implanted have 30 days to register their contact information with the microchip manufacturer or a free online database. Similarly, they have 30 days to update any changes to their contact information or to transfer ownership of a pet.

What does the new law say about routine strays, or “frequent fliers”?
Any dog brought to Hawaiian Humane as stray three times in a 12-month period must be spayed/neutered before the dog can be returned to its owner, unless medically contraindicated. Sterilization services will be offered at the Community Spay/Neuter Center, but owners may request that Hawaiian Humane transfer a dog falling under this requirement to a private veterinary clinic upon confirmation of a spay/neuter appointment.

What do we do if someone brings us a lost pet?
Hawaiian Humane remains the official pet lost and found for Oahu. If you need help identifying the owner of a microchipped pet, call the admissions team at 356-2285.