April 1, 2013
Vermont Veterinary Medical Association Foundation Scholarships - Applications due June 1
The VVMA Foundation is seeking applicants for its second round of awards to Vermonters currently in veterinary school. Last year we provided $8,000 in scholarships to three Vermonters. As you know, veterinary student loan debt has become a harsh reality for recent graduates, with average individual debt over $150,000 according to the AVMA. The VVMAF will seek, at least in small part, to ease some of this financial burden on our students. It is our intent to provide scholarships for the fall 2013 semester.
March 18, 2013
Vermont Food Animal Veterinarian Educational Loan Repayment Program - Applications due April 15
To VVMA Members
From Dr. Greg Dowd, VVMA President
The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association administers the Vermont Food Animal Veterinarian Educational Loan Repayment Program (VFAVELRP) whose purpose is to award scholarship funds specifically designated by the state legislature to help support repayment of veterinary student loans of food animal veterinarians willing to practice in underserved areas of Vermont. The state allocates $30,000 annually, and we awarded funds to Drs. Alison Cornwall, Jennifer Hull, and Blake Nguyen in our first round of awards.
This program may be of use to you in reducing student loans you may presently have, or be a tool to help you attract veterinary graduates to your practice.
Applications for this scholarship program are now being accepted through April 15, 2013. Applicants do not have to be members of the VVMA. Click here for an application form and overview on the program for more information.
The VVMA is pleased to be involved in this important effort, and contact me (email@example.com), State Veterinarian Dr. Kristin Haas (firstname.lastname@example.org), or VVMA Executive Director Kathy Finnie (email@example.com) if you have any questions. Again, the application deadline for the upcoming scholarship award is April 15, 2013.
Cost of Veterinary Care
By Dr. Greg Dowd
In a recent Seven Days article, Dr. Peggy Larson made reference to the rising cost of veterinary care, and implied excessive fees being applied by veterinarians. Dr. Elizabeth Miquel from the Essex Veterinary Center responded in a subsequent Seven Days article and made some very important points that give a more accurate understanding of what goes into costs associated with veterinary procedures. I would like to respond to Dr. Larson’s article and expand upon the issue of the cost of veterinary care.
I applaud VVMA member Dr. Peggy Larson for dedicating her life to specializing in low-cost spay and neuter services for cats. These spay and neuter programs help control the cat and dog population and afford lower-income families the opportunity to have their pets sterilized and immunized. However, I was disappointed that she didn’t acknowledge a broader scope beyond her niche.
As with human medicine, there are daily advances in veterinary medical technology and our understanding of disease processes and treatments. As a veterinarian, it is both gratifying and exciting to be able to offer medical technology that can result in quicker and more accurate diagnosis, or offer an advanced treatment option that has been shown to improve and perhaps expedite the healing process. Many pet owners have come to expect treatment options that range from conservative to a more progressive, extensive treatment approach. The veterinarian often offers a range of treatment options, but ultimately, it is the client who decides whether their pet gets NSAIDs or stem cells, an x-ray or an MRI.
There are other reasons for the increase in the cost of veterinary care, and perhaps it is worth delving into why. For example, the average small animal private practice in the Burlington area employs two to three veterinarians, four to eight staff members (including veterinary technicians, client service coordinators, assistants, and kennel attendants) and has several hundred square feet of facilities with prominent business frontage and/or landscaping. Inside that facility are exam rooms, operating rooms, treatment rooms, digital radiography units, dental radiography units, countless blood machines, anesthetic machines, anesthetic monitors, a full service pharmacy, computer systems, pet foods, and maybe even ultrasound and/or laser (surgical and physical therapy type) machines, etc. All designed to give our clients the best care possible for their pets. This staff and equipment afford your veterinarian the capability to diagnose and treat your four-legged family members often times more efficiently than you are treated at any human hospital, and at a fraction of the cost.
Your pet can arrive at the veterinary hospital at 8:00 a.m., have pre-anesthetic blood work drawn, run, and interpreted, an IV catheter placed, be anesthetized, have surgery and/or dental work done (sometimes including x-rays being taken, developed and interpreted), while being fully monitored just as you would when you went to the hospital; recover, and go home with you the same day or the next morning, with all of their prescriptions. One stop, premium care, convenient, compassionate, and personalized.
Most veterinarians employ appointment times of 20-30 minutes, and much of that time is spent face to face with your veterinarian. For all the time your veterinarian spends with you in the exam room, they likely spend an equal amount of time keeping records, speaking to you on the phone regarding your pet should you have a question, and/or learning new things in order to keep up with the ever-changing field of medicine. Some veterinarians even go a step further with convenience and bring some of their services to your home, providing house calls, particularly for routine care, so you and your pet never have to leave the comfort of your home.
Another factor that is sometimes lost to the public is the rising cost of veterinary education in the face of stagnant salaries. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average student loan debt for a veterinarian graduating in 2011 was $142,613, while the average starting salary in 2011 was $46,971. Just to put things into perspective, the average hours worked in one week by most full time veterinarians is in the neighborhood of 45-55. If we do some simple math with these numbers, after going to school for eight years, graduating with a doctorate and debt that is 2.5 times our annual salary, on average, we bring home about $18 an hour. The cost of veterinary medicine isn’t going up to fill a veterinarian’s pockets, but is more likely to help to continue to provide your pet with the highest quality care, in the form of knowledgeable and compassionate veterinarians and staff, state of the art equipment and pharmaceuticals, and the facilities to hold it all.
Although pet insurance is becoming more popular, the vast majority of pet owners pay “out of pocket”, which often equates to much more than a “co-pay”. How many of us read how much human medical care costs before insurance gets involved? Your pet’s veterinarian provides the same quality of medicine your doctor provides to you, sometimes with the same equipment, and even at its current cost, it is still just a fraction of what you would pay your doctor if you paid out of pocket.
Veterinarians are by nature compassionate people. We volunteer countless hours providing care in animal shelters, assisting local law enforcement officials in animal cruelty investigations and in animal rescues, and providing rabies vaccinations and immunizations at local clinics. According to a study to be released this fall by the American Animal Hospital Association, it is estimated that the average veterinarian gives away $65,000 worth of services annually.
We are committed to reducing the number of homeless animals. Many veterinarians participate in several low-income supplemental programs for spaying and neutering pets, the largest being the Vermont Spay Neuter Incentive Program. There are also several other low-cost spay neuter programs available throughout the state.
The cost of owning a pet is more than just the expense of food. Owning a pet is a serious financial (and emotional) commitment. People need to be sure they are aware of the true cost of owning a pet before they take on what can be a significant financial responsibility. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to budget for a pet before getting one, leading to trouble down the road. Financially providing for your pet is a big part of being a responsible pet owner.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has developed a chart which is an estimated minimum cost of humane care for a pet: http://www.aspca.org/Home/Adoption/pet-care-costs.
If you ask the average pet owner what they expect from their veterinarian, they want their veterinarian to help their pet to live a long and healthy life. We have made it our business to research what would make that happen, and the solution, as you may have guessed, is good preventative and medical care.
Every pet owner has different ideas on what is acceptable pet health care. Even veterinarians, to an extent, vary in their approach from minimalist to extensive. Your veterinarian can guide you through the health options available for your pet. Being a responsible pet owner and being proactive in preventative care can save money and help your pet live a long and healthy life.
Vermont Veterinary Medical Association Foundation
The VVMA recently established its own charitable arm called the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association Foundation (VVMAF). The mission of this non-profit corporation is to provide scholarships to Vermonters furthering their veterinary medical education or training, and funding for the support of animal welfare.
Veterinary student loan debt has become a harsh reality for recent graduates, with average individual debt upwards of $150,000 according to a 2011 study by the AVMA. The VVMAF will seek, at least in small part, to ease some of this financial burden on our students.
VVMAF is accepting scholarship applications for the Fall 2012 semester.
Application deadline is June 30, 2012.
Click here for:
Please contact VVMA Executive Director Kathy Finnie (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions. 5/12/12
West Nile Virus
For Immediate Release: June 21, 2010
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON - Each year in Vermont, mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus feed on birds, and some birds become sick and can die. For the past 10 years, the Vermont Department of Health has conducted a statewide "Dead Bird Surveillance Program." Tracking the number and location of bird deaths, along with testing some birds for West Nile virus, helps to assess the risk for human infection from mosquito bites, and directs prevention efforts.
Again this year, report sightings of dead birds by calling the central dead bird reporting line at the Vermont Department of Health at 1-800-913-1139. Some of the birds will be tested for West Nile virus. The dead bird reporting line will remain active until the middle of October, when the mosquitoes begin to die off and the risk of disease transmission declines.
The West Nile virus season peaks in late summer and runs through October. The risk for infection with West Nile virus continues into late fall, or as long as mosquitoes remain active.
"Although human cases of West Nile virus infection are still rare in Vermont, we want everyone to be aware of the Health Department surveillance programs and to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites," said Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the Health Department, "For example, to reduce mosquitoes around your house, eliminate standing water where they might breed and drain areas where water can pool, such as rain gutters and wading pools."
Although Vermont's last reported human case of West Nile virus occurred in 2003, four positive birds were identified in 2009. Mosquitoes also tested positive last year, so the virus is still circulating in our state. In addition, the Health Department and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets are on the lookout for
another mosquito-borne virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus. This virus has not been detected in Vermont but has been found in neighboring states and Quebec.
Only one out of five people who are infected with the West Nile virus experience symptoms. The symptoms are most often mild and include fever, body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph nodes or a rash. Fewer than 1 percent of people develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, muscle weakness, numbness and paralysis.
The Department of Health is urging Vermonters to:
* Wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.
* Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water; drain areas where water can pool such as rain gutters, wading pools and any other water-holding containers such as old tires.
* Use effective mosquito repellents
* Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
* Horses are also susceptible to infection and should be vaccinated against the virus.
For more information on West Nile Virus visit healthvermont.gov.
Health Department Reminds Vermonters to Avoid Contact with Bats
Trapped Inside Homes
For Immediate Release: June 4, 2010
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON - Every summer, the Health Department receives numerous calls from people who have found a bat inside their house. Because bats can carry rabies, careful consideration must be given to whether a person or pet has come in contact with the bat before deciding whether to capture it for testing or to release it outside.
Staff at the Vermont Rabies Hotline (1-800-472-2437 or 802-223-8697) can help people determine whether an exposure to a bat has put them at risk for rabies and, if necessary, help make arrangements to have a bat tested at the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory.
Bats that have bitten or scratched a person should be caught and submitted for rabies testing. Because a bat bite or scratch may be small and hard to see, bats found in a room with an unattended child or in a room with a soundly sleeping person should also be tested.
To capture a bat safely, wait until the bat lands. Approach it slowly while wearing leather work gloves, and place a box or coffee can over it. Slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely, and punch small holes in the cardboard so the bat can breathe.
"Bats are an important part of the ecosystem but they should be appreciated at a distance, since they have been implicated in human rabies cases," said Dr. Robert Johnson, state public health veterinarian for the Vermont Department of Health.
Each year, the Health Department tests approximately 100 bats for rabies, and one or two are routinely identified as positive. Rabies is a viral disease found mainly in wildlife (especially raccoons, foxes, bats and skunks). A total of 71 animals tested positive for rabies in Vermont in 2009, and 19 so far in 2010. The test for rabies is done on a tissue sample from the animal's brain so the animal must be euthanized in order to be tested.
Rabies can also affect domestic animals and people. The virus is typically contracted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal.
People who may have been exposed to rabies should contact their healthcare provider. If there is an obvious bite or scratch, the wound should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water as soon as possible. Untreated, rabies is always fatal; however, prompt treatment with rabies shots after an exposure is very effective in preventing illness in people. There has never been a human case of rabies reported to the Vermont Department of Health.
The best way to protect domestic animals is to have them vaccinated against rabies before an exposure occurs.
For more information and the number of animal rabies cases reported each year, visit healthvermont.gov.
FOR MORE INFORMATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kathy Finnie, Executive Director November 18, 2008
Vermont Veterinary Medical Association Launches
Statewide Pet Oxygen Mask Program
ESSEX JUNCTION, VERMONT - Over 40,000 pets in the United States die each year due to smoke inhalation in house fires. Nationwide, local veterinary communities and animal rescue organizations have provided fire and rescue departments with pet oxygen masks. The masks are designed to fit over the animal’s muzzle and provide a constant flow of oxygen, which greatly improves the chance for survival.
In Vermont, over 74% of households have one or more family pet. As a result, local fire departments are under increasing pressure to render on scene aid for these beloved pets. However, they are unable to provide this life saving oxygen without the proper equipment.
The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA) has developed a statewide program to outfit fire and rescue squads with pet oxygen masks. First responders will be equipped with a set of three oxygen masks: one for large dogs, another for smaller dogs and an even smaller feline mask. These masks will be carried on rescue trucks and used in the event of a fire emergency. While the first responders’ priority remains the safety and welfare of people in an emergency situation, the addition of these masks offers important peace of mind that, in the event a pet is suffering from smoke inhalation, the first responders can offer assistance until proper veterinary care can be provided.
The VVMA, an association of 315 caring, service-oriented veterinarians in Vermont, is committed to animal safety and hopes to bring this program to every corner of the state. Delivery of the masks and training sessions for their proper use are scheduled for January and February, 2009. For more information on how you can support this important program to help save the lives of pets during a house fire, please contact the VVMA at 802-878-6888. A list of participating veterinary clinics and first responders is available at www.vtvets.org/news.shtml.
VVMA President Dr. Elizabeth Alton with “Buddy”
Thank you to the following VVMA members participating in the Pet Oxygen Mask Program:
Animal Hospital of Hinesburg, Ark Veterinary Hospital (Shelburne), Arlington Animal Hospital, Berlin Veterinary Clinic, Brattleboro Veterinary Clinic, Bristol Animal Hospital, Burlington Veterinary Specialists, Chelsea Animal Hospital, Country Animal Hospital (Bethel), East Haven Veterinary Hospital, Grand Isle Veterinary Hospital, Green Mountain Animal Hospital (So. Burlington), Kedron Valley Veterinary Clinic (Woodstock), Raymond Koch (Manchester Ctr.) , Lamoille Valley Veterinary Services (Hyde Park), Michael Romp (Cambridge), Middlebury Animal Hospital, Mountain View Animal Hospital (Essex Jct.), Mt. Mansfield Animal Hospital (Jericho), Onion River Animal Hospital (Middlesex), Otterside Animal Hospital (Brandon), Paws For Thought, PC, (Highgate Center), Petit Brook Veterinary Clinic (Milton), Richmond Animal Hospital, River Cove Animal Hospital (Williston), Rupert Veterinary Clinic, Ryegate Small Animal Hospital, Samuel Hutchins, III (So. Barre), Springfield Animal Hospital, Susan Nelson (Newport), Tanneberger Veterinary Hospital (St. Albans), Valley Animal Hospital (Waitsfield), VCA Brown Animal Hospital (So. Burlington), Vergennes Animal Hospital, Vermont New Hampshire Veterinary Clinic (East Dummerston), Vermont Veterinary Cardiology Services (Waterbury Ctr), Vet To Pet Mobile Veterinary Service (Burlington), West Mountain Animal Hospital (Bennington), West River Valley Veterinary Services (Newfane).
Thank you to the following emergency rescue organizations participating in the Pet Oxygen Mask Program:
Alburgh/Isle La Motte Rescue, Arlington Fire Dept., Barnard First Response, Barnet Fire and Rescue, Barre City Fire and Ambulance, Barre Town Fire Dept., Bennington Rescue Squad, Brandon Area Rescue Squad, Brattleboro Fire Dept., Bridgewater FAST Squad, Bristol Rescue Squad, Cambridge Rescue Squad, Charlotte Rescue, Chelsea Fire Department, Chester Ambulance Service, Chittenden First Response, Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Co., Concord Fire and Rescue, Corinth/Topsham Emergency Response Team, Danby/Mt. Tabor Fire Department, East Arlington Fire Dept., East Montpelier Fire Department, Essex Junction Fire Department, Fair Haven Fire Department, Fair Haven Rescue Squad, Grand Isle Rescue, Grafton Rescue Squad, Groton Fire Department, Jericho/Underhill Fire Dept., Mad River Valley Ambulance Service, Montpelier Fire Department, Orwell First Respons
e, Regional Ambulance Service (Rutland), Richmond Rescue, Ryegate Fire Department, Shelburne Rescue, Southwestern VT Regional Ambulance Service, St. Albans City Fire Dept, South Hero Fire Department, South Hero Rescue, South Woodstock Fire Department, Stowe EMS, Tunbridge Fire Department, Valley Rescue, Vergennes Area Rescue, Wardsboro Fire and Rescue, Washington Fire Department, Waterbury Ambulance Service, White River Valley Ambulance, Williamstown Ambulance Service, Williston Fire Dept., Woodstock Volunteer Fire Department.
News From the State Veterinarian
To: Vermont Equine Veterinarians
From: Kristin M. Haas, D.V.M.
Date: October 10, 2008
Subject: Positive and suspect EEE and WNV cases
I am writing to let you know that there have been several confirmed cases of EEE in Clinton County, New York and several more horses that have exhibited neurologic signs but that do not have a confirmed diagnosis. It is thought that one of these cases could involve a concurrent infection with WNV. There was also a horse in the southern part of Vermont that recently tested positive for WNV infection, and that animal has been euthanized.
Please keep this information in mind as you communicate with your clients on vaccine strategies, especially for those horses that are travelling to these areas in the immediate future. NY animal health officials are taking the necessary precautions and measures in order to deal with the situation there. Thus far, there have not been interstate shipment restrictions applied, but I will keep you informed of developments in this area. If you have questions, please contact our Animal Health office at (802)828-2421.
Health Department Investigates Leptospirosis in Strafford
For Immediate Release: August 14, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
Burlington - The Vermont Department of Health is investigating a number of reported cases of illness with symptoms consistent with leptospirosis, a bacterial illness that is rarely seen in the northeastern states. The illness appears to be limited to people who had been swimming in the town pond in Strafford. The disease is not known to be spread from person to person, and it is treatable with antibiotics.
State health officials closed the pond as a precaution, and have alerted health care providers on both sides of the Vermont/New Hampshire border. The Health Department is conducting an investigation to identify any additional cases and to confirm the Strafford pond as the source of exposure.
Leptospirosis can be caused by exposure to water which has been contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Heavy rains this summer have increased the risk of contaminants washing into the state's surface waters. There are no reports at this time that other ponds or swimming areas in Vermont are also impacted, however, the Heath Department urges people to be watchful for symptoms of illness.
"Anyone who spent time this summer in the Strafford pond should be alert for symptoms such as high fever, muscle aches, severe headache, chills, red eyes, and vomiting," said Cort Lohff, state epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health. "Call your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms - or jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea or rash."
A community meeting for Thursday night is being organized by the Strafford Lions Club. Health Department officials will be on hand to discuss the pond closure and answer any questions about leptospirosis. The meeting is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. Thursday, August 14, and will be held at Barrett Hall in Strafford, at the junction of Route 132 and Justin Morrill Highway.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the time from exposure to illness can be two days to four weeks. Without treatment, recovery may take several months. Illness usually begins suddenly with fever and other symptoms, and may occur in two phases. After the first phase of fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea, the patient may recover for a time but then fall sick again. If this happens, the second phase of illness may be more severe, or even life-threatening, with kidney or liver failure, or meningitis.
People who believe they may have symptoms of leptospirosis should contact their health care provider.
For more information, visit the Vermont Department of Health website at healthvermont.gov http://healthvermont.gov/ .
* Leptospirosis Health Advisory http://healthvermont.gov/advisory/documents/Leptospirosis_advisory080 608.pdf - 08/06/08
Additional information is available from the CDC> * Leptospirosis Home Page http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/leptospirosis_g.htm>
* Leptospirosis: Frequently Asked Questions http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/files/Leptospirosis_FAQ.pdf
Vermont Identifies First Positive West Nile Virus Sample of 2008 in
For Immediate Release: Aug. 1, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture notified the Health Department today that Culex mosquitos trapped in the Bridport area of Addison County on July 28 have been positively identified as carriers of West Nile virus.
West Nile virus, an infection spread by the bite of an infected mosquito that may cause human illness, is transmitted from infected birds to mosquitoes.
Each year, the State of Vermont conducts a statewide surveillance program that includes trapping and testing mosquitoes, testing dead birds, and testing people who have symptoms consistent with the virus. The Department of Health is testing dead robins, jays, crows, ravens, and raptors for West Nile virus.
"Culex mosquitos prefer to feed on birds rather than people or other mammals, and although we have not had a positive human case of West Nile virus for the past four years, it is important that we notify Vermonters when we identify the first positive sample," said Patsy Kelso, an epidemiologist with the Vermont Department of Health.
Only one out of five people who are infected with the virus experience symptoms. These symptoms are most often mild, but can include high fever and paralysis. Approximately 1 percent of people who are infected develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system, such as encephalitis or meningitis, which can be fatal.
The Department of Health is reminding Vermonters to:
* Wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.
* Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water by draining areas where water can pool such as rain gutters, wading pools and any other water-holding containers such as old tires.
* Use repellents containing no more than 30 percent DEET on adults and no more than 10 percent on children age 3 and older.
* Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
West Nile virus season peaks in late summer and runs through October. There is a risk of West Nile virus as long as mosquitoes are active.
The Agency of Agriculture will continue to test mosquitoes for the virus, and the Health Department will continue its dead bird reporting program to test for the presence of the infection. Vermonters can call 1-800-913-1139 to report dead birds.
For more information on West Nile virus, visit the Vermont Department of Health website: healthvermont.gov.
Tufts' study on the Economic Impact of Veterinary Medicine
in Vermont and New England
June 4, 2008
Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Contact: Tom Keppeler,508-839-7910 OR email@example.com
For the complete study, please visit: www.tufts.edu/vet/about/economic_impact_08.pdf
Click here for a one-page summary of the economic impact of veterinary medicine in Vermont
Study Reveals Growing Shortage of Veterinarians in New England
Industry employs nearly 1,200 people in Vermont alone
NORTH GRAFTON, MASS., June 4, 2008 – Veterinary medicine contributes $3.3 billion to the economies of New England—and the region faces a shortage of as many as 658 veterinarians by 2014, according to a study released today by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Within Vermont, the veterinary industry employs an estimated 1,192 people, including 293 veterinarians. In addition, the industry invests an estimated $78 million on payroll, operating expenses and capital projects, including over $60 million in veterinary clinical practice, $11 million in scientific R&D and $5 million in academia.
The economic impact study—undertaken by the UMass Donahue Institute and commissioned by the Cummings School, the only veterinary school in the six-state New England Region—reveals that veterinarians and associated staff comprise over 20,000 jobs in the area. Moreover, for every 100 veterinary medical jobs in the region, an additional 59 jobs are created in related industries, the study indicates.
“The importance of agriculture to Vermont’s economy cannot be overstated, and we depend on veterinary medicine to ensure the health of our dairy cattle and the quality of the products they produce,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin L. Dorn. “Veterinarians run small businesses, and small businesses are the backbone of Vermont’s economy.”
“Seventy-four percent of Vermont households own one or more companion animals, the highest rate in the country,” added Kathryn A. Finnie, executive director of the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association, which helped support the study. “The total estimated economic impact of veterinary medicine is significant in the small state of Vermont where veterinarians are small business owners, employers and taxpayers.”
Clinical practice—providing medical services for household pets, farm and food animals, and exotic animals—represents the largest percentage ($1.1 billion, or 65 percent) of direct veterinary expenditures in New England, which total $1.72 billion. Scientific research and development—which require animal health and husbandry services to test new drugs and devices and better understand animal and human health—comprises the next-largest category, with a total of 23 percent of veterinary medicine spending and 14 percent of the industry’s total employment. Laboratory animal veterinarians are responsible for the welfare of as many as 2 million laboratory animals in New England.
The study also highlights a growing critical need for veterinarians in the region. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the study found that the region will have 1,036 vacancies for veterinarians by 2014, both through new job creation and retirement of an aging workforce. With an average of 60 percent of Cummings School graduates remaining in New England, trends suggest that 378 of the school’s graduates will enter the region’s workforce, leaving unfilled 658 new vacancies for veterinarians.
What’s more, the study suggests that the region faces a flood of retirements among food animal veterinarians. Over a quarter of the region’s more than 100 specialized food animal veterinarians will reach retirement age by 2014. With current levels of food animal graduates, the Cummings School will be positioned to replace only half of these vacancies. Overall, 43 percent of New England veterinarians are over age 50; by contrast, 56 percent of livestock veterinarians are over age 50. Until 2014, the study suggests, food animal veterinarians will retire at nearly twice the rate of their companion animal colleagues. With the critical role that food animal veterinarians play in protecting the nation’s food supply, this shortage is especially alarming.
“This study confirms the importance and economic impact of veterinary medicine in Massachusetts and New England,” said Deborah T. Kochevar, DVM, PhD, dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “Cummings School is proud to serve the citizens of this region by educating veterinary professionals, advancing biomedical research, and serving as a clinical and public health resource for animals and their owners.”
The study was supported by the Veterinary Medical Associations of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, the New England Veterinary Medical Association and InTown Veterinary Group. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., was the study’s lead industry sponsor.
“In order to best understand the health of the animals in New England, we need to understand the industry that cares for them,” said Dr. Christine Jenkins, Director of Academic Affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the study’s lead industry sponsor. “This study does just that—and we hope it sheds light on the growing need for veterinarians in the workforce to ensure the care and safety of animals in the region.”
The study also revealed interesting findings in each state of New England. Among them:
Massachusetts has New England’s biggest veterinary scientific research and development sector, with more than 5 percent of the state’s veterinarians specializing in this area. The state is the fifth-largest in the nation for research animals registered under the Animal Welfare Act and veterinarians support the work of a vital life sciences industry in the state. With 8,000 employees statewide and a total economic impact of $1.3 billion in 2006, veterinary medicine is an essential part of the state economy.
In Connecticut, $83 is pumped back into the state’s economy for every $100 spent by the veterinary industry, a multiplier of 1.83. For every 100 jobs in the industry, another 55 jobs in Connecticut are supported. Connecticut boasts a total veterinary economic impact of nearly $1 billion in 2006, the second largest in the region.
Maine has the nation’s sixth-highest rate of pet ownership, with 70 percent of households (376,000 homes) owning one or more pets. The veterinary industry represents an economic impact of more than $290 million in the state.
New Hampshire residents spend the second-most in the region on veterinary clinical services per capita, at $94. The state also ranks second in median wages for veterinarians, at $78,180. Every $100 of veterinary industry spending in the state supports another $74 of economic activity in the state.
In Rhode Island, veterinary medicine employs an estimated 1,110 people, including 189 veterinarians. The industry invests an estimated $81 million on payroll, operating expenses and capital projects, including over $69 million in veterinary clinical practice, $5 million in scientific R&D and $6 million in academia.
Vermont has both the highest rate of pet ownership in the region and the nation—74.5 percent—and the region’s highest per capita spending on veterinary clinical services ($97). Additionally, the state boasts the region’s highest rate of veterinary practice ownership (52 percent of clinical practice veterinarians are self-employed).
# # #
About the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, Mass., the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is internationally esteemed for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; three hospitals that treat more than 28,000 animals each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public, and environmental health. The school has secured more than $23 million in NIH funding to build a level-3 Regional Biosafety Laboratory for work with infectious disease organisms, the anchor tenant of a life sciences industrial development known as Grafton Science Park.
National Pet Week
May 4-10, 2008
Pets have profound affects on the lives of their human owners. They provide us with love, endless hours of companionship, and wonderful relationships that help fill our our lives. National Pet Week is a celebration of those relationships.
Being a pet owner is not just fun and games. Being a responsible pet owner requires that your pet's health is properly cared for. Information on the health of your pet is included here, but make sure to talk with your veterinarian about your particular situation.
NH Department of Health and Human Services
PRESS RELEASE CONTACT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Information Office
April 7, 2008
DHHS Releases New Lyme Disease Data Concord, NH
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is releasing the report "New Hampshire Tick-Borne Disease Bulletin: 2007 Update." The report details diseases carried by ticks, specifically the black-legged (or deer) tick, in New Hampshire and the incidence of Lyme disease in the State in 2007.
"We have reported earlier that the incidence of Lyme disease in New Hampshire is increasing," said Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, "but the surprising finding is how pervasive the disease is. Over fifty percent of the ticks sampled in Rockingham, Strafford, and Hillsborough counties tested positive for Lyme disease."
There were 892 cases of Lyme identified in the State in 2007, and 619 the year before. While the number of reported cases of Lyme disease in New Hampshire residents is increasing, it is not known whether this is because of an increased number of ticks carrying the disease or a heightened awareness among patients and clinicians or both. Early symptoms of Lyme disease often, but not always, include a large circular rash at the site of the tick bite, accompanied by chills, fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, swollen glands, and joint pain.
"Black-legged ticks can also carry and transmit two other diseases, babesiosis and anaplasmosis, to people in the State," said Dr. José Montero, State Epidemiologist, "but it is important to remember that these three illnesses are all preventable by avoiding being bitten by ticks. We don't want to discourage anyone from enjoying the outdoors, but just to take precautions when outside."
To prevent tick bites: Avoid tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass and brush and leaf litter Use insect repellent Wear protective clothing Do a tick check after being outdoors Reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short and removing leaf litter Monitor yourself if you are bitten by a tick and tell your healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms.
Lyme disease is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week in recognition of National Public Health Week.
For more information about Lyme disease, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov. For more information about National Public Health Week go to www.nphw.org.
2008/2009 New England and New York Dairy/Meat Goat
and Dairy Sheep Directory
A few weeks ago you received a letter and a directory form with a deadline for submission of March 15. You still have time to be in the new 2008/2009 New England & New York Dairy/Meat Goat and Dairy Sheep Directory!
Go to www.uvm.edu/sustainableagriculture/smallrumi.html for an online copy of the forms to fill out, submit or download to print out and mail in. View the 2006/2007 version at this site to see this useful directory. Many resources listed are in the back. List your veterinary practice for only $15. You may use your credit card on the form supplied.
DROP DEADLINE: POSTMARK BY MARCH 24, 2008 The Directory will be available by MAY in hard copy and on the web. You will receive a hard copy and can download a pdf file anytime
For further information, contact Carol Delaney Small Ruminant Dairy Specialist, University of Vermont, 270 Main Street/200B Terrill Hall, Burlington, Vermont 05405 at 802-656-0915 or Carol.firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2006/2007 New England Dairy/Meat Goat and Dairy Sheep Directory can be found at: www.uvm.edu/sustainableagriculture/smallrumi.html
December 27, 2007
From Dr. Bob Johnson, Public Health Veterinarian
Vermont is one of a number of states implicated in this widespread issue. The main chain store in question is implementing appropriate control measures and reporting sick and normal birds that are positive for C. psittaci. The following information was issued to Florida county health depts by Florida public health officials 12/26/07. Please report suspected cases of psittacosis to the Vt Agency of Agriculture and the Vt Dept of Health.
Psittacosis and Florida Bird Vendor
A probable human case of psittacosis has been identified in a pet store employee in Minnesota; a second ill employee from the same store is being evaluated. Some birds in the store were linked to a Florida vendor who provides birds for pet store retailers nationwide. Sick birds testing positive for psittacosis in several other pet stores around the country have been linked to the same Florida vendor since mid-October. Only Minnesota has reported a probable human case. Florida has had one bird that was positive for Chlamydophila psittaci (healthy appearing) linked to this vendor.
This incident is suspected to be associated with a change in bird management dating from the beginning of September. The management change was reversed November 1 and efforts are being made to identify the source of infection as the Florida vendor purchases birds from multiple avian breeders. All State Public Health Veterinarians or other appropriate health and agriculture officials in the forty-five states that received birds from the Florida vendor since September 1 have been notified and impacted pet stores have received management guidance. The vendor's local county health department and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) are working together with the vendor to review management practices.
Psittacosis is reportable to both the Florida Department of Health and FDACS. The causative agent of psittacosis, Chlamydophila psittaci (formerly Chlamydia psittaci) is a relatively common bacterial infection in birds and can infect many avian species, particularly psittacine type birds (i.e. cockatiels, parakeets, parrots, macaws, etc.). Some birds can be asymptomatic carriers and shed the bacteria intermittently, especially following stresses such as shipping, crowding and chilling. Incubation periods in birds usually range from 3 days to several weeks, but disease can appear with no identifiable exposure. Symptoms are non-specific and can include decreased activity, decreased appetite, ruffled feathers, discharge from the eyes or nose, diarrhea, abnormal stool color, and death. Diagnostic testing can be difficult to interpret, especially in asymptomatic birds. Doxycycline treatment is effective when administered using adequate duration and dose. A veterinarian should be consulted when determining diagnostic and treatment protocols.
Chlamydophila psittaci is shed in the feces and nasal discharges of infected birds, and can be transmitted to people via aerosolization of fecal dust or respiratory secretions. Disease in people is uncommon. Those coming in prolonged contact with birds such as pet store workers and pet bird owners are at greatest risk of infection. The disease can be more severe in pregnant women. The incubation period is typically 5-14 days but can be longer. Symptoms are flu-like in most cases and may include fever, chills, headache, malaise, myalgia, photophobia and/or respiratory symptoms such as a non-productive cough. Less commonly, infections can affect other organs or organ systems such as the heart, liver, joints, and central nervous system. Rare cases may be fatal. Recommended diagnostic testing is serology using microimmunofluorescence (MIF) or complement fixation (CF) using serum. Cross-reaction with Chlamydia pneumoniae or C. trachomatis can occur with serologic assays, particularly the CF test. Tetracyclines are the drugs of choice; adequate duration of treatment is important to prevent relapses.
The organism is killed by most common disinfectants. Pet shop personnel and other bird workers cleaning cages or working with sick birds should wear gloves, protective clothing, and respiratory protection such as disposable N-95 masks. Workers should wash hands thoroughly after cleaning cages or handling birds. Good management practices in pet stores and aviaries help prevent human and bird illness from this relatively common bird disease and include:
* consulting with a veterinarian on animal health and husbandry issues
* providing appropriate personal protection protocols and material for staff
* requiring documentation of appropriate psittacosis testing or treatment from vendors
* establishing an isolation protocol for new or sick birds
* maintaining complete records of bird source and sale
* maintaining complete animal health records
* cleaning animal cages regularly and maintaining store cleanliness
* reducing staff and public exposure to bird fecal material
* avoiding animal crowding and other stresses
* screening tests for birds with frequent public contact (bird encounters, nursing homes)
State to Start 11th Annual Bait Drop Today
For Immediate Release: Aug. 7, 2007
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON - The 11th annual Rabies Bait Drop will begin today in an effort to slow a growing number or rabies cases that have spread through the northern part of Vermont and across the border into Quebec.
This time last year there were only 38 confirmed cases of rabies in Vermont, mostly in raccoons and skunks. So far in 2007, there have been 110 confirmed cases. Quebec, which had only two suspected cases in 2006, has already confirmed 41 cases of animal rabies.
"We have seen a higher number of rabies cases this year, particularly raccoon rabies," said Dr. Robert Johnson, state veterinarian for the Vermont Department of Health. "The bait drop will be denser this year than in previous years based on our mapping of cases here in Vermont where we have seen clusters, such as the northwest corner of the state in Franklin County."
The bait will be dropped from an altitude of 500 feet. The planes will fly uniform grid lines 0.3 miles apart and drop more than 400,000 fishmeal cakes at a rate of eight baits per second. As wildlife detect and then devour the bait - the animals are inoculated. A bait navigator stationed in the front of each of the three twin-engine Beachcraft aircra ft will have the job of making sure the small wax casings containing oral vaccine do not land on any cars, houses, water or people.
The bait drop will be expanded this year to include communities in Clinton County, New York.
Anyone who finds the bait should leave it untouched, unless it is discovered on a lawn or driveway where it is unlikely to attract a raccoon. Remove the bait with a glove and wash your hands with soap and water.
The bait cannot cause rabies if it is touched or eaten and is not harmful to children or pets, but it does have an objectionable smell if it gets on your skin. No human cases of rabies have been reported in Vermont this year.
Since 1992, the USDA has offered a toll-free Rabies Hotline in Vermont. Keep a safe distance from wild animals and, if bitten, call 1-800-472-2437.
Burlington Police Department Dog Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award by the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association
Contact: Kathryn Finnie
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 3007
BURLINGTON, VT – The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA) presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Stoney, a Vermont Certified Drug Dog and Patrol Dog, and his handler, Corporal Thomas Radford of the Burlington Police Department, at the VVMA’s Summer Meeting on June 22.
This is the first time this award has ever been presented by the VVMA. Stoney will be retiring after an eight year career with the Burlington Police Department. Stoney holds the Vermont Police Canine record of 961 drug finds and has confiscated hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs and almost a half-million dollars in suspected drug money.
The Stoney-Radford team was the Vermont Police Canine Drug Detection Team of the Year in 2000 and 2003, and the Vermont Police Canine Overall Best Team of the Year in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, Stoney received the Burlington Police Distinguished Service Award, the Vermont State Police Lifesaving Award, and the Vermont Police Canine Association Lifesaving Award.
“Stoney is the epitome of a well-trained, well-mannered service dog who is willing to give his last gasp of life to work for Corporal Radford” said Stoney’s veterinarian and VVMA member Dr. Steven Metz. Stoney is also a wonderful companion and Radford family member. “The VVMA would like to honor the unique human-animal bond that has allowed Stoney and Corporal Radford to work so well to help Vermonters remain safe, and we thank them both for their service”, said Dr. Elizabeth Alton, VVMA President.
The VVMA’s mission is to promote animal well-being and public health, to provide education for veterinarians and the public, and to enhance the ability of veterinarians to succeed.
Vermont Health Department Reminds Vermonters to Avoid Contact with Wild Animals Due to Rabies Concerns
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is reminding people not to feed or touch wild animals after three cases were reported this month involving five raccoons who were illegally taken in as pets and had to be tested for rabies.
The animals were killed and tested negative for rabies at the Health Department laboratory. Last year in Vermont, 59 animals tested positive for rabies, including 37 raccoons. Twenty-seven animals have tested positive in 2006, including 18 raccoons.
“The best prevention is to avoid exposure,” said Nancy Carey, a wildlife rehabilitator from the Pine Haven Refuge in Underhill, Vt. “Stay away from wild or stray animals and be sure to vaccinate your pets. Call the rabies hotline, or your local police dispatcher who will contact a game warden to assist you.”
The rabies hotline number is: 1-800-4 RABIES (800-472-2437).
Carey can rehabilitate raccoons, skunks, foxes and woodchucks if the animals have not been handled by people. The animals can be cared for at the refuge until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild. Once the animals are taken in as pets and improperly handled, and people are either bitten or exposed to saliva, the potential for rabies exposure necessitates a test for the disease.
The test for rabies is taken from a tissue sample from the animal’s brain that cannot be extracted while the animal is still alive.
“It is against the law to possess wild animals, and wild animals that have been handled by people cannot be watched for 10 days like domestic animals to rule out rabies,” said Dr. Robert Johnson, state veterinarian for the Vermont Department of Health. “You simply should not take in a wild animal and hope to adopt it as a pet. Common sense is one of the best defenses against rabies.”
A recent case involved contact with a raccoon that would not move for an oncoming car, which led the driver to fear for the safety of the animal.
“If the animal is in harm’s way and needs to be moved, do it without direct contact by wearing gloves or even using the floor-mat in your car – anything except your hands,” Carey said. “Then call the hotline and find out who can respond to the animal’s need. Don’t take it home.”
Canine Influenza Virus
Tick Season Heightens Importance of Awareness and Prevention of Lyme Disease
BURLINGTON – Deer ticks in the nymph stage are tiny, about the size of a poppy seed, but they are the main source of transmitting Lyme disease to people from May through July.
A total of 101 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in Vermont from 1999-2005, including a season-high 29 cases last year.
“Human cases of Lyme disease have been reported from all over Vermont, it is not a problem that is limited to just one area of the state,” said Patsy Tassler, Ph. D. an epidemiologist with the Vermont Department of Health. “Daily tick checks and prompt removal of any attached ticks can prevent transmission of Lyme disease.”
Lyme disease in humans can vary from no illness to severe disease that in rare cases, if left untreated by antibiotics, can spread to the brain or heart. Ticks thrive in areas of high humidity and they are most commonly found in grassy, brushy, wooded, and shaded areas.
“If you are bitten by a tick let your doctor know as soon as possible,” Tassler said. “Ticks can carry a number of different diseases and some have general symptoms, such as fever or nausea, and a tick bite may be the only clue to the cause of the illness.”
Call your physician if you experience any symptoms of Lyme disease after a tick bite such as fatigue, chills and fever, muscle joint and pain, headache or swollen lymph nodes.
When working or hiking in the woods, or fields, put on insect repellent and wear protective clothing. Carefully inspect for - and promptly and safely remove - any attached ticks.
Other tips to prevent tick bites:
· Wear light colored clothing so that it is easier to see ticks
· Tuck your pants into your socks
· Use insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin that are labeled for ticks, but do not apply them to infants. Follow the directions on the label.
· Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks daily and remove ticks promptly.
Dr. Robert Johnson, state public health veterinarian for the Vermont Department of Health, said that all owners of dogs and cats should consult with their local veterinarian about recommendations on tick prevention, particularly for dogs that spend a lot of time in wooded areas and near lakes, ponds and streams.
Although most commonly diagnosed in dogs, it is also possible for cats, horses, goats and cattle to get Lyme disease. Common symptoms include sudden severe pain or lameness, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite.
For more information about ticks and Lyme disease in Vermont, visit the Health Department website at: healthvermont.gov.