COVID-19 Vaccination Update

HVMA has reached out to the Hawaii Department of Health and received information that veterinarians and their staff are currently in Tier 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

To receive more information, fill out the Department of Health survey at https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/for-clinicians/covid-19-vaccine/. The Department of Health will directly contact you to follow up. You may also check their website for updates.

AVMA News

Veterinary Leadership Conference 2021

Registration for the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC) 2021 is now open. VLC 2021 will be held virtually January 7-9, 2021. HVMA is currently accepting nominations for the designated “Veterinary Leader” from Hawaii, due by November 28, 2020.

Past attendees include Drs. David Gans, Jenee Odani, Aleisha Swartz, and Katie Hancock Reed. Contact us for more information. Read more about the VLC here.

Volunteer Opportunities

We invite you to explore the Committee and Council positions available this year and in 2021.  Please visit the Volunteer Opportunities section of the AVMA website to learn more. As a volunteer, travel, lodging and meals are covered by the AVMA.

AVMA COVID-19 Resources

AVMA Webinars

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

AVMA House of Delegates Updates

Submitted by HVMA HOD Representatives Leianne Lee Loy and Carolyn Naun

The first Virtual Annual House Of Delegate (HOD) Session was held on July 30 and 31, 2020. Regular Annual Meeting Agenda included: Veterinary Information Forum with open mic discussion, candidate introductions, officer speeches, Informational meeting (AVMF, PAC, PLIT, CVTEA, COE), Reference Committee, and the district caucuses.  

Highlights of the meeting:
Discussion, cases and stories of HOD COVID-19
Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine
Two Resolutions Approved: Revised Policy on Antiparasitic Resistance and Transportation of Research Animals for the Purpose of Research, Testing, and Education

Election results:
AVMA President Elect 2020-2021: Jose Arce
AVMA Vice President 2020-2022: Sandra Faeh

Continuing Education Opportunity with AVMA

This summer, the AVMA’s first Virtual Convention will take place August 20-22. Take a step back from the day-to-day and rekindle your energy and passion for veterinary medicine—without leaving your home!
Tracks include:

  • Cannabis Symposium
  • Companion animal medicine
  • Food animal / equine
  • Practice management
  • Professional development
  • Public and corporate practice
  • Veterinary technology

Find out more and register here

Diversity and inclusion

As you know, diversity and inclusion has become a salient issue over the past several months. AVMA leadership has listened, and the HOD passed recommendations to the Board of Directors outlining some actionable steps. The Multicultural Veterinary Medical Organization released a thought provoking video that we recommend you watch if you have not seen it already: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Pl4YX_QNc

Given recent events in Washington involving a Member of Congress who is a veterinarian, we wanted to clear up one misunderstanding we have heard regarding the use of member dues. AVMA does take an active role in advocating for the profession and championing the legislative causes that affect us. This effort is nonpartisan in nature.  However, in accordance with federal law, your AVMA dues cannot be used toward political campaign contributions.

The AVMA’s Political Action Committee is a separate entity supported by individual contributions from members. AVMA PAC does support veterinarian Members of Congress, as they understand the challenges faced by our profession and the issues you care about, without regard to party affiliation. You can reach AVMA PAC to provide feedback or to make a contribution at avmapac.org

Here is a link to the statement from AVMA regarding the reported interaction between Rep. Ted Yoho and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: https://www.facebook.com/avmavets/posts/10163691028363990

Rep. Ted Yoho is retiring from Congress at the end of this year.

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.