April 17, 2014

Health Alert: Coccidioides (“Valley Fever” agent) found in soil in Washington State; three human illnesses reported

Three human cases of coccidioidomycosis (“Valley Fever”) were suspected of being locally acquired due to a lack of recent travel. One case in each of three south central Washington state counties led to a disease investigation which found soil in the area was likely the source of the illnesses. The three case-patients resided in Benton, Franklin, and Walla Walla counties. Interviews with two of three case-patients identified likely exposure locations in Benton County. The Washington State Department of Health and Benton-Franklin Health District collected soil samples from these likely exposure locations to test for Coccidioides (the fungus that causes Valley Fever) and samples from two sites tested positive. This is the first time that Coccidioides has been detected in soil in Washington and there is still much to learn about the extent of this organism in the environment. Further testing indicated that DNA from the soil isolates matched DNA from a clinical isolate from one of the case-patients.

The state Department of Health is increasing surveillance for coccidioidomycosis in an effort to identify other locally-acquired infections and plans to continue soil testing. Veterinarians should be aware of these findings and should consider coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) in their patients with clinically compatible illnesses, especially those that live within, have traveled to or spent time in the described area of eastern-central Washington. A recent review of pathology reports (2001 – 2010) by Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL) noted a few domestic animal cases suspected of being acquired in Washington. DOH is asking that all suspected locally acquired cases of coccidioidomycosis statewide be reported directly to Dr. Wohrle, under the rare disease of public health significance category.

For reporting, additional information, or questions, please contact Dr. Ron Wohrle of DOH’s Zoonotic and Vector-Borne Diseases Program at ron.wohrle@doh.wa.gov or (360) 236-3369.

Register today for WSVMA’s Feline Focus CE featuring Dr. Margie Scherk

WSVMA’s Feline Focus CE program featuring Dr. Margie Scherk will take place Sunday, May 18, 2014 from 12 to 4pm at Renton Technical College. Dr. Scherk will lecture on neutraceuticals for liver and renal health, complex disease management in geriatric cats, updated vaccine guidelines, and improving client compliance. Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP is a 1982 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College. She achieved ABVP Board certification in feline practice in 1995 and is Co-editor of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

Early bird registration for this event is $45 for member veterinarians. The rate increases May 4. For more information and to register, please visit the WSVMA website or download a registration form. This event is generously sponsored by VPI P&WS, Elanco, P&G Pet Care, VetriScience, Universal Ultrasound, Royal Canin, Ceva, CareCap, Hope Science, AVMA PLIT, and Standard Process.

Merial reports problems with rabies vaccine

Merial has voluntarily stopped distribution of recently manufactured lots of PUREVAX® Feline Rabies vaccines, reporting irregularities in the physical appearance of the product after reconstitution. These irregularities are aggregates of protein and may appear as a white precipitate. There may also be changes in the viscosity of the vaccine causing it to appear gel-like. The protein is a normal component of the vaccine but is not usually in this aggregated form. Customers who experience irregularities after reconstitution of the vaccine should not use the product and return the affected vials to Merial. They will replace the product as soon as a new supply is available, which is expected mid-June. Merial advises that product that appears to be normal after reconstitution may continue to be used. Questions or concerns should be directed to Merial’s Veterinary Technical Services at (888) MERIAL-1, Option 3.

Veterinary Mobility Act one step closer to passage

On April 3, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 1528 Veterinary Mobility Act which if passed, would allow veterinarians to legally transport, dispense or administer controlled substances in the field. The bill will now move on to the full House. AVMA reports their hope that the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee will come to an agreement so that when the House passes HR 1528, the bill can go to the President. The Senate passed its own version of the bill back in January.


April 10, 2014

Seattle City Council approves resolution on the use of antibiotics in livestock

The Seattle City Council approved a resolution Monday concerning the nontherapeutic use of antibiotic medicine in livestock production. Resolution 31514, brought to the Council by activists from Food and Water Watch, supports a ban on nontherapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock production and urges the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate to pass the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act and Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance Act.

Although no input was sought from veterinarians, WSVMA representatives submitted comments and testified in the April 7 meeting, urging a delay in the vote so Council members could hear from all stakeholders, something the Council did not take under advisement. Seattle was the fifth city the activists successfully encouraged to pass such a resolution, with their goal being 50 cities total.

WSDA activates Reserve Veterinary Corps for Oso slide

The WA State Department of Agriculture deployed the Reserve Veterinary Corps to assist in response efforts for the Oso mudslide. Arriving last Saturday, the first team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians were prepared to care for the approximate 30 rescue dogs who need treatment for conditions such as minor cuts, hyperthermia and damaged pads. Due to exposure from hazardous materials, the dogs also need to be decontaminated.

Arrival of the Corps follows the volunteer efforts of private veterinary personnel from Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital and Seattle Veterinary Specialists, as well as Dr. Carrie La Jeunesse from Port Orchard who is also trained in trauma and grief counseling.

The Reserve Vet Corp consists of 135 veterinarians, veterinary technicians and other animal health professionals who are trained in incident command response and are able to assist in the event of an animal disease outbreak or natural disaster. The Oso slide represents the first deployment for the Corps.

ERISA and Fiduciary Fundamentals

ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act; it is a federal law that sets minimum standards for retirement plans in private industry to protect individuals in the plan. A fiduciary is any person involved with administering your practice’s retirement plan (or other benefit plans). Under ERISA law, any fiduciary can be held personally liable for the retirement plan. A court can order the fiduciary to personally restore losses or profits made through improper handling of plan assets.


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March 17, 2014

Mandatory prescription bill reintroduced in Congress – take action now

On February 10, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT-4th) reintroduced the so-called “Fairness to Pet Owners Act” (H.R. 4023), which applies to drugs prescribed for domesticated household animals. Like its predecessor in the previous Congress, HR 1406, the bill would require a veterinarian to provide a client with a written prescription, whether or not requested by the client. The bill goes further, and would require the veterinarian to provide a copy of the prescription by electronic or other means, if requested by a pharmacy or a designee of the pet owner. Finally, the veterinarian would be prohibited from charging any fee for writing the prescription or asking a client to sign a liability waiver related to writing the prescription.

Requiring a written prescription regardless of whether the client is having it filled by their veterinarian is burdensome and unnecessary. Clients already have flexibility in filling their pet’s prescription at the veterinary clinic or a pharmacy of their choice.

The Federal Trade Commission is still working on a report that will issue findings and recommendations following a 2012 workshop that addressed competition and consumer protection issues within the pet medications industry. Introducing legislation prior to the release of the report is premature when it has not been determined that there is, in fact, a problem in need of a solution.

Please contact your House of Representatives’ member in opposition to the Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 4023) today!

Enroll your practice in the Partners for Healthy Pets program

Partners for Healthy Pets has launched a highly motivational print, digital, and Public Service Announcement-driven campaign that will put the importance of preventive pet healthcare and regular veterinary visits on the national stage.

Print ads are showing up in some of the nation’s most popular magazines – Real Simple, People, O the Oprah magazine, Prevention, Family Fun, and Every Day with Rachael Ray – and on websites such as CNN, PedMD, and SheKnows. In addition, 15- and 30-second television commercials are running on networks and channels such as FOX, FOX Sports, Comcast, HGTV, DIY, the Travel Channel, and the Food Network.

The print and digital campaign features a dog and a cat, both wearing a “special care instructions” tag that reads “Feed Daily, Yearly Check-Ups, Love Forever.” The ads highlight the responsibility owners have to their pets’ health and send this message: “A yearly visit to your family vet is as essential as food and love. Make an appointment for an annual checkup today.”

Keep an eye on these ads, because clients will certainly see them. Use the ads as a great platform to start the conversation about the importance of regular preventive health care visits, enhance the relationship between you and your clients and ultimately deliver a higher quality of preventive care.

Veterinarians play a key role in helping pets get the preventive healthcare they deserve. Join the thousands of veterinary professionals who have already committed to making a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them. Enroll your practice today.

WSVMA 2014 Awards nominations due April 1

At the WSVMA Annual Conference September 26-28, 2014 in Yakima, the WSVMA will present awards to those that have contributed significantly to the veterinary profession in Washington. The 2014 awards that will be presented include Veterinarian of the Year, Distinguished Achievement, WSU Faculty Member of the Year, Distinguished Veterinary Staff, Humane Animal Welfare, Student-Recent Grad and Allied Industry. Download the nomination form and submit to the WSVMA office prior to the April 1, 2014 deadline. For past award winners, consult your WSVMA Member Services Directory.


February 27, 2014

Spokane area veterinary practices hit by tramadol scam

A police report has been filed after a man in Spokane targeted several area veterinary practices in attempts to get tramadol. While no physical description of the man has been detailed, he asks for tramadol for his German Shepherd and Labrador. In a convincing manner, the man initially asks for just enough for one month, and may bring an old dog but no records. Veterinary practices who think they’ve been targeted can contact local police. 

State health officer warns of salmonella infection in backyard flocks

Physician and state health officer for the Department of Health, Katy Lofy, MD, warned against salmonella infections in chickens and other live poultry. Springtime is the most common time of year when people become infected because they handle baby chicks and ducklings and don’t follow with good hand washing. Young children are at particular risk. In 2013, 19 people contracted salmonella in Washington, 13 of whom were under the age of ten. More than 500 illnesses due to salmonella infection were reported nationally last year, thought to be related to the popularity of raising backyard poultry. Salmonella infection can cause fever, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting. Severe cases may require hospitalization and can also result in death.


February 12, 2014

WSU Extension offers on-farm workshops to help prevent costly disease

Free, voluntary, on-farm risk assessment workshops to help WA beef cow-calf producers reduce the risk of a deadly respiratory disease can be scheduled through March through WSU Mount Vernon’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. The workshops were developed to address pneumonia, known as bovine respiratory disease complex, the greatest killer of calves. The disease kills more than one million animals each year and losses can total over $700 million.

Fall and winter are the prime pneumonia seasons and timing assessments accordingly will assist producers in more productively managing their herds. For weaned calves going into the next phase of production, WSU Extension’s Dr. Susan Kerr advises “pre-conditioning programs that include vaccinations, ration adjustments and a 45- to 60-day waiting period helps prevent bovine respiratory disease before weaned calves are shipped.”

To schedule a risk assessment workshop, farmers may contact WSU veterinary extension coordinator Sandy Poisson, spoisson@vetmed.wsu.edu or (509) 335-8225.

Swine Health Announcement: CVIs to have PEDv statement (non-commercial hogs)

Effective Friday, February 7, 2014, a certificate of veterinary inspection accompanying non-commercial hogs entering Texas or Oklahoma for purposes other than immediate slaughter, must contain the following statement from the issuing veterinarian, " To the best of my knowledge, swine represented on this certificate have not originated from a premises known to be affected by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), and have not been exposed to PEDv within the last 30 days." For more information, contact the WA State Department of Agriculture at (360) 902-1800.

Seven Key Elements of Business Continuity Planning

Don’t hope—plan. 

Consider these two business insurance property closed claims from veterinary practices in the PLIT-sponsored Program:

Dr. A’s Plumbing Ruptures After Cold Weekend

When Dr. A arrived for work Monday morning after a weekend of low temperatures, the building was full of water and still leaking from pipes in the second floor walls. A claim investigation revealed that the plumbing had frozen in the second floor grooming area, and the pipes burst.

The practice closed operations for building repairs. Dr. A rented an office and equipment to continue business operations at a temporary location. A second practice of Dr. A’s accommodated some of the lost business. The insurance carrier paid more than $286,000 in damages for the building, the business property, and business interruption and extra expenses...


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Largest Canine Cancer Study Seeks Veterinarians to Participate

Morris Animal Foundation Invites Veterinarians and Their Clients to Join Groundbreaking Research

Each and every day the staff at veterinary hospitals around the country work to save animal lives—and one of the biggest health challenges they face is cancer. What if their work could help stop cancer forever? Perhaps it can.

Morris Animal Foundation has launched the largest research study ever conducted in veterinary medicine—and all veterinarians are encouraged to participate.

The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is recruiting 3,000 purebred Golden Retrievers, their owners and their veterinarians into a lifelong observational study to evaluate the influence of genetics, diet and environment on the incidence of canine cancer....

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WSVMA 2014-15 Member Services Directory – is your information current?

The 2014-15 Member Services Directory will be produced soon. Please verify that we have your information correct by logging onto the WSVMA website and viewing your member profile. If you would like to make a change or update your information, please revise your member profile online, email the WSVMA office or call (800) 399-7862 or (425) 396-3191. 


January 30, 2014

Sunday Rivalry: Washington VMA vs. Colorado VMA

As the Big Game approaches, why should the mayors of Seattle and Denver be the only ones to get in on the action?

Washington State VMA executive vice president Candace Joy and CVMA executive director, Ralph Johnson are striking up a friendly rivalry of their own. Ralph has pledged a "humongous" box of delicious Colorado-made Enstrom's toffee and Candace has offered up a bottle of superb Washington wine.

Only Sunday will tell... Let the game begin! Go Seahawks!!! 


Pet Nutrition Alliance offers tools on pet nutrition for veterinarians

The Pet Nutrition Alliance announces new web-based resources on pet nutrition for veterinary professionals. The new website offers tools to use in the practice and with clients. Resources include diagnostic tools, feeding guides and charts, body and muscle condition score charts, client information sheets, communication tools, weight translator tool, exam checklists, pamphlets for pet owners, assessment forms and training on weight loss programs. For more information and to access the tools and resources, visit the Pet Nutrition Alliance’s website.

Why 2014 Should Be Your Best Year Ever and 10 Ways How Not To Blow It

First, the facts:

The veterinary industry is forecast to expand over the five year period between 2012 and 2017. Veterinary spending is forecast to grow from $29.9 billion in 2012 to an estimated $36.3 billion in 2017.

How does that affect every one of you? The veterinary industry is now in a growth cycle. A growth cycle in an industry means an increase in customers and revenue.

Consequently, your biggest challenge right now is effectively managing all of the issues that are competing for more of your time and money. If you don’t, those customers and their revenue will go someplace else.

Managing during growth is so much more difficult than managing during a down cycle.

Remember: It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much you keep.

Here are my recommendations for taking advantage of what this incredible New Year will bring...


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AVMA Report from the 2014 Winter House of Delegates and Veterinary Leadership Conference

The 2014 AVMA House of Delegates regular session was held January 10-11, 2014 during the Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago.
The Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC) brings together not only volunteers and leaders within the AVMA, but elected leaders from state VMA’s, their executive directors, representatives from SAVMA, and emerging leaders. Seminars on leadership skills and an introduction to the AVMA were spread among workshops on board development, strategic planning, and the Preventive Pet Healthcare presented by Partners for Healthy Pets. To see more on this initiative to increase importance of regular veterinary checkups, please see www. Healthypetcheckup.org...

Continue Reading > 

WSVMA Member Benefit of the Month

Veterinary Collections Solutions from IC Systems, Inc. Need assistance in collecting bad debts? Visit their website for their full range of services. 


January 16, 2014

U.S. Senate passes Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act – now on to House of Representatives

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed S. 1171 Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act. The legislation, which amends the Controlled Substance Act, would allow veterinarians to carry controlled substances when treating patients in locations other than their primary places of registration. With the bill passed in one chamber of Congress, it now goes to the U.S. House to take up this important legislation. Please contact your representatives today and ask them to co-sponsor and vote for the companion bill in the House—H.R. 1528, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act. 

Partners for Healthy Pets debut TV commercials to help drive clients to veterinarians

Partners for Healthy Pets is pleased to debut two television commercials, which are currently being marketed to television stations across the U.S. for placement as non-paid Public Service Announcements. High-resolution versions can be downloaded via the links provided below, and veterinary practices are encouraged to make use of these engaging spots on your websites, newsletters and other communications. Thanks to your involvement, the message that regular veterinary checkups are as essential as food and love will come to life in homes across America.

Healthy Pet “Special Care Instructions” TV Commercial:

To enroll your practice and access the tools that will help increase regular visits to your practice, visit the Partners for Healthy Pets website.

Are You Interested in Making Your Veterinary Practice More Profitable in 2014?

Cultural Currency has the Power to Change Everything.

Several years ago I visited the Design Museum in London. At the time there was an amazing exhibit being staged called the Currency of Culture.

Unlike the traditional definitions of the word currency, this referred to the fact that every culture, or group, has its own unique form of currency — reflecting the words, customs, products, and services that uniquely represent the cultural values and needs of that group.

Think of the cultural currency of the Seahawks right now. I doubt it has ever been higher. The 12th Man is ever present; sales of tickets and branded logo merchandise are soaring. Their current winning streak is creating a form of cultural currency. And that cultural currency has an enormous monetary impact.

That could well be true for veterinary medicine when it comes to innovative Preventive Care Plans. What if a program was designed to be so appealing to pet owners that they enrolled, at record numbers, and created new avenues for profitable business for you? The central questions to be answered include...


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WSVMA Veterinary Surgery Day Registration Now Open

WSVMA Veterinary Surgery Day will take place Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 12 to 5pm at Renton Technical College. WSVMA’s Veterinary Surgery Day will provide cutting-edge information on surgical procedures given by our local specialists. Surgeons you know and love from around the Seattle metro area will feature talks on soft tissue surgery, orthopedics, GI, wound management, and more. Four hours of continuing education credit will be available.

Early bird registration for this event will be $45 for member veterinarians. There is limited space for veterinary technicians. Join us for an afternoon of excellent CE. For more information and to register, please visit the WSVMA website

Remember to renew your WSVMA membership by January 31

If you have not already renewed your membership dues, please do so before January 31 to ensure that you don't miss out on any of the benefits the WSVMA has to offer. The WSVMA represents you in Olympia, keeps you connected to the latest continuing education opportunities and alerts you to rapidly evolving veterinary issues. Contact the WSVMA if you have any questions. For more information or to pay your dues, access the WSVMA website. Thank you for being a member! 


January 8, 2014

New FDA resource available on off-label drug use

The FDA has produced a comprehensive new resource to make it easier for veterinarians to navigate the gray areas of off- or extra-label drug use. "The Ins and Outs of Extra-Label Drug Use in Animals: A Resource for Veterinarians" defines extra-label use and provides guidance to veterinarians on the legalities and how to meet the FDA requirements that govern extra-label drug use in animals.

The new FDA resource focuses on key points that veterinarians must follow when prescribing human and animal drugs for extra-label uses in animals:

  • Valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship
  • General Conditions for Extra-Label Drug Use
  • Conditions for Extra-Label Drug Use in Food-Producing Animals
  • Compounding
  • Drugs Prohibited from Extra-Label Uses in Animals

The FDA also recommends that food animal veterinarians be familiar with their 2012 document, “The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals.” For more information and to read the comprehensive overview, visit the FDA website.

Radiation Notice to Employees poster updated and ready to download

The Office of Radiation Protection at the Washington State Department of Health recently updated the Notice to Employees that is required to be posted at worksites where radioactive materials are used. The posters are available in a format that can be downloaded from the Web as a "fillable form" and typed with organization or company information. To download the poster or order printed copies, visit Radiation Protection Publications on the Web.

WSVMA Veterinary Surgery Day, March 9, 2014 – Register today

The WSVMA announces WSVMA Veterinary Surgery Day will take place Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 12 to 5pm at Renton Technical College. WSVMA’s Veterinary Surgery Day will provide cutting-edge information on surgical procedures given by our local specialists. Rock star surgeons from the Seattle metro area will feature talks on soft tissue surgery, orthopedics, GI, wound management, and more.

Speaking are surgeons Dr. Tamara Walker from ACCES, Dr. Shanti Jha from VCA Veterinary Specialty Center, Dr. Stephanie Lister Grey from Puget Sound Veterinary Referral Center, Dr. Beck Murray from Summit Veterinary Referral Center, as well as surgeons from Seattle Veterinary Specialists, Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle, and Puget Sound Animal Hospital for Surgery. Four hours of continuing education credit will be available.

Early bird registration for this event will be $45 for member veterinarians. There is limited space for veterinary technicians. Join us for an afternoon of excellent CE. For more information and to register, please visit the WSVMA website.

Minimum wage increased to $9.32 as of Jan 1

Washington's minimum wage increased from $9.19 to $9.32 last week on January 1. The increase reflects a 1.455 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index. WA has the highest minimum wage in the country, followed by Oregon, where the minimum wage increased to $9.10 per hour.

With the new year and wage hike, all WA employers are required to post the “Your Rights as a Worker” poster in their places of business. Updated posters are available from the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) at no charge. A separate minimum wage poster is no longer required. For more information, visit the Dept. of L&I website or call (866) 219-7321 or (360) 5316.


December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays from the WSVMA Executive Board and Staff!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or simply the beautiful winter season, the WSVMA wishes you and your loved ones wonderful, joyous holidays.

 Please note that the WSVMA office will be closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Tuesday, December 24 through Wednesday, January 1, 2013. The WSVMA will re-open on January 2. 



Alert dog owners about increased risk of Salmon Poisoning Disease

Phoenix Central Lab reports seeing more fecal examinations positive for eggs of the fluke Nanophyetus salmincola, which carries the rickettsial agent of salmon poisoning disease, Neorickettsia helminthoeca. Histories on a few of these dogs reveal severe life threatening gastrointestinal illness due to salmon poisoning. It is an important time to remind pet owners not to allow their dogs to contact, eat or lick, raw fish – particularly salmon – but also non-salmonid fish and the Pacific giant salamander. Owners should also contact their veterinarian immediately if their dog may have ingested raw fish, particularly if it is showing signs of gastrointestinal disease. Salmon Poisoning Disease is not seen in cats. 

Profit Mastery® Course: A Seven Step Fiscal Physical® to Help Your Practice Survive, Grow, and Prosper

In the few minutes it takes you to read this blog, forty businesses across the nation will fail — and that statistic was before the economic downturn of the last few years. 

Tragic? Yes. Remarkable? Not at all. The road to business success is littered with the skeletons of practices whose owners — many brilliant and skilled individuals — failed to “take care of business” in the financial management of their enterprise. Just a minute — am I saying that good ideas, technical skills, knowledge, and the ability to get patients in the door don’t guarantee success? You bet I am. Anyone in a position to provide capital will tell you — the ability to develop and control an organization financially is absolutely vital. Let’s explore how you and your practice manager can become even more financially successful in 2014. 

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VCPR definition to be codified in WA

At the December 2, 2013 meeting of the Veterinary Board of Governors, the members voted to open a CR-101, which is a notification of intent to inform stakeholders that the Board will initiate rulemaking to consider defining the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) in Washington Administrative Code. Washington is one of a handful of states where the VCPR has no legal definition. The Veterinary Board of Governors established an internal policy some years ago but it’s used only as a guideline when reviewing disciplinary cases. For more information on VCPR rulemaking and other activities by the Veterinary Board of Governors, sign up to receive emails at their Dept. of Health webpage.

Your WSVMA dues as a tax deduction

As the end of 2013 approaches and you’re busy holiday shopping and celebrating, don’t forget to renew your membership with the WSVMA and get that last minute business deduction. It’s your chance to join with other Washington veterinarians in support of the premier organization that works to protect your practice and advance veterinary medicine and animal and human health each and every day.

Please join us by renewing your membership today. General membership is as little as $26 per month, or $13 per month for 2011, 2012 and 2013 graduates. You may renew online by logging in at www.wsvma.org and clicking “renew” from your profile page or find the renewal form to print out here.

The greater number of members we have, the more effective we are in working on your behalf. Your dues will help ensure that veterinarians in Washington continue to enjoy practicing veterinary medicine in a state where the profession is constantly monitored and protected.

Thank you. 


December 12, 2013

King County veterinarians asked to voluntarily promote pet licensure

In a letter this week to members, the WSVMA asked veterinarians who practice in King County to voluntarily talk with clients to encourage pet licensure. Less than 20% of dogs and cats in King County are licensed, even though it’s required by law.

The King County Council planned to initiate legislation requiring veterinarians to report private client information whenever administering a rabies vaccine so the County can pursue pet owners who haven’t licensed their pets. As an alternative, the WSVMA proposed having veterinarians work voluntarily to help them succeed in their goal.

King County officials agreed to hold off formally proposing mandatory reporting legislation until March, giving time to see if voluntary efforts can demonstrate results and increase the number of licensed pets by 10,000. After several meetings with County officials, however, we have serious concerns that our efforts will fail to result in an increase in pet licensure within their stated time frame.

In order for this to remain a voluntary effort, the WSVMA is encouraging members to take an active step to inform clients about the benefits of licensing their pet and the services the revenue provides for the community. By participating and talking to clients about pet licensure, perhaps we can lessen the chances of King County veterinarians being forced into releasing private client information.

Read WSVMA’s letter to King County officials outlining our list of concerns.

Be aware of who’s hanging around your waiting room

During a very busy period at a suburban Seattle veterinary hospital last week, a man who appeared to be a sales representative was chatting with a client who was dropping her dog off for boarding while she traveled out of town. The man offered to send the client a free sample of his product and she responded by giving him her home address. Only after she had left the clinic did the woman realize that this man may not have been a legitimate vendor and that she may have inadvertently given her home address to someone who knows she will be out of town. When she called the hospital to voice her concerns, the staff realized that the man had left without talking to them so it cannot be confirmed whether or not he was a legitimate sales representative. In these and other potentially dangerous situations, consider steps you can take to keep your hospital safe for your staff and your clients.

Workplace safety resources are available at the following websites:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Centers for Disease Control
Safety Vet
WA Dept. of Labor & Industries

I Had a Black Dog

Recently, an animated YouTube video addressing depression circulated on Facebook. I had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression, created by the World Health Organization is a creative and engaging effort to demystify and destigmatize depression that also includes easy-to-adopt self-care tips, as well as recommendations for gaining support.

The “Black Dog” theme used to illustrate depression seems oddly appropriate for those of us in veterinary medicine, and, if nothing else, the creativity and narrator’s pleasant voice make this worth viewing. Sometimes, the dark of winter, pressure of holiday busy-ness or longing for deceased loved ones can reveal depressive symptoms or aggravate existing depression.

We will all be touched by depression in one way or another…someone we know, someone we work with, a client, ourselves. I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression is a way to learn more. Take a look. Start a conversation. Share the video. Give yourself and those you care for the gift of understanding.

As WSVMA’s holiday gift to you, here are some links to websites that offer proven methods for self-care that anyone’s schedule can accommodate:

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
Gratitude-Emmons Lab University of Davis
Yale School of Medicine Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic

L&I rates set to rise in 2014

The WA Department of Labor & Industries announced last week that premiums for workers’ compensation will increase for the first time in three years. The average 2.7 percent rate increase for 2014 premiums is an increase of less than two cents per hour worked. The rate increase, which will bring in about $55 million in additional premiums next year, is an average for all Washington employers. Individual employers could see their rates go up or down, depending on their recent claims history and any changes in the frequency and cost of claims in their industry. For more information, visit the Dept. of Labor & Industries website.


November 26, 2013

Deadlines to comply with Washington’s new hazard communication rules differ from OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently revised the Hazard Communication Standard in order to improve comprehension of hazard information found on product labels. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) will replace the current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), which will more effectively prevent injuries and make it safer for workers to do their jobs.

The federal deadline for compliance to train employees is December 1, 2013. In Washington, however, the WA Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), doesn’t require compliance to begin until June 1, 2014. WISHA supersedes OSHA for all but federal workers.

But that doesn’t mean you should wait to prepare.

Major changes to the hazard communication standard include the following four areas:

  1. Hazard Classification: For each chemical, the chemical manufacturer or importer must determine the hazard classes, and where appropriate, the category of each class that applies to the chemical being classified. Employers are not required to classify chemicals unless they choose not to rely on the manufacturer’s classification.
  2. Labels: The information on labels will become more standardized to increase employee comprehension of the potential hazards and precautions. New labels will feature hazard pictograms, a signal word such as “danger,” hazard and precautionary statements and both a product and supplier identifier.
  3. Safety Data Sheets: The new standard will have a specified 16-section format and replace what is currently known as a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
  4. Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by June 1, 2014 on the new label elements and SDS format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Written Hazard Communication Plan
Employers must develop, implement, and maintain a written hazard communication program which describes how the criteria for labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and employee information and training will be met, and which includes the following:

Continue Reading >


November 21, 2013

AABP Creates Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) Guidelines

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) has created guidelines for effective veterinarian-client-patient relationships (VCPR). The two-page guidelines, Establishing and Maintaining the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship in Bovine Practice, are meant to assist veterinarians in developing more comprehensive relationships with their cattle-producing clients.

The six principles underpinning the AABP VCPR guidelines:
• Maintain written agreements for working relationships
• Have a Veterinarian of Record
• Clarify any and all relationships with consultants and other veterinarians
• Provide written protocols
• Ensure written or electronic treatment records are maintained
• Provide drugs or prescriptions for specific time frames and for specific protocols

AABP advises that the VCPR is a mechanism that when in place and adhered to by all parties, assures responsible drug use and that protocols are in place and regularly reviewed on the livestock operation. The guidelines will also help to assure the public that there are excellent, responsible and documented procedures being employed on farming operations, which will help ensure a positive image for both the dairy and beef industries as well as the veterinary profession.  

Trifexis® determined not responsible for recent dog deaths

There have been rumors in the media about a possible association between Trifexis® and several dog deaths. AVMA reports that a summary of pathology/necropsy reports from an independent pathologist has determined that the cause of deaths were unrelated to the administration of Trifexis®. The summary was derived from the individual pathology/necropsy reports which led veterinarians to conclude that Trifexis® was not the cause of death.

How Partners for Healthy Pets can help you see more clients

Many of your “active” clients are, in fact, not active. Data from the practice management systems of over 5,000 companion animal practices revealed that over 50% of the pets considered “active” by the practices had not been in for a visit of any kind in over 18 months. It is these pet owners, who already have a relationship with you, that are the target of the Partners for Healthy Pets advertising campaign.

The simple goal of the campaign is to get these pet owners to schedule an annual checkup with you. That’s why your use of the campaign materials available to you through free enrollment of your practice will help you see more clients! 


November 15, 2013

AVMA provides talking points on media reports about Trifexis®

AVMA is providing talking points for veterinarians after a media report surfaced about pet owners who believe that their dogs died from the use of Trifexis®, a heartworm and intestinal parasite preventive medication. There have also been comments made on social media that the drug has caused illness and death. Elanco, the manufacturer, is aware of the complaints and to date, there has been no product recall and no deaths definitively linked to the drug.

Veterinarians may receive questions from clients on the issue. AVMA has put together talking points to assist with client conversations and will update information if needed. For more information, visit the AVMA website

Specialty License Plate supports spay-neuter efforts

Are you or your clients interested in doing more to help reduce pet overpopulation in Washington? Consider sporting a “We Love our Pets” specialty license plate. The proceeds from the sale of the plates fund spay-neuter surgery grants through the WA State Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies (WSFACCA).

The WSFACCA is a coalition of animal care organizations whose mission is the “humane treatment of animals in Washington State through legislation, training, programs and support services.” Through their collective efforts, they work to decrease the number of unwanted, lost and neglected animals.

The “We Love our Pets” license plates went on sale in 2006, after a bill passed the WA State Legislature authorizing the program. Through the purchase of the plates, more than $300,000 has been awarded to local animal care and control agencies with more than 12,000 spay-neuter surgeries completed through the program.

The license plates can be purchased through the WA Department of Licensing for $67.75 in addition to regular car registration and tab fees. Renewals are $30 annually plus typical fees. $28 goes to support the WSFACCA spay-neuter grant program. For more information, visit the WA Dept of Licensing or WSFACCA websites. 

Be a part of the greatest profession

We want to thank you again for your membership this past year. Together we're making the greatest profession on earth even better. Our new Online Membership Renewal is now open for 2013-14. All you need to do is login to your profile and click the Renew button. For assistance with logging in or questions about your membership, call Sherri Dean at the WSVMA office, (800) 399-7862, or email Sherri at sherrid@wsvma.org


October 31, 2013

Voluntary program with Regional Animal Services of King County moving forward

Plans to require veterinarians in King County to report private client information for the purposes of increasing revenue from pet licensure have been laid aside for now. WSVMA and PSVMA continue to meet with Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) and other county officials to find alternative solutions to making veterinarians enforcers for licensing pets among pet owners who are already most likely following the law. 

At recent meetings, WSVMA and PSVMA made clear that if veterinarians are to help RASKC in their effort to raise pet licensure rates above 20%, the County would have to provide improved messaging and marketing materials other than the punitive-sounding messages they currently utilize. Having the tools to communicate to pet owners how RASKC protects the community, helps return lost animals, provides adoption services and mitigates animal cruelty is essential if a veterinarian is expected to “sell” the importance of licensure. RASKC is working on new materials that will be sent to practices soon.

The County has indicated, however, that they expect the number of licensed pets to increase by 10,000 with this voluntary effort, which is a difficult number to attain given the number of veterinarians in RASKC’s jurisdictions and the $30 annual cost of the license, one of the highest in the country. The WSVMA and PSVMA will continue to meet with county officials in order to keep this a voluntary effort.  

Proposed FDA rules aim to improve safety of pet food

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is suggesting new pet food production guidelines to improve the safety of domestic and foreign-produced products. The FDA is currently investigating chicken jerky pet food products produced in China linked to illnesses in thousands of dogs and some cats, including some 600 deaths.

The proposed rules would call for pet food manufacturers to provide written plans for identifying, preventing and addressing any potential hazards and would give the government power to directly intervene during production. (Source—AVMA Animal Health SmartBrief, October 28, 2013) 

Bats harbor new flu strain

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a new influenza A strain in Peruvian bats. The H18N11 strain demonstrates characteristics of strains that do not infect humans. Experts cannot definitively say that this strain is not a threat to humans. Bats harbor many zoonotic pathogens and may be a host in which viruses genetically change. The CDC reports states that at some genetic loci, New World bats harbor more influenza virus genetic diversity than all other mammalian and avian species combined. (Source—AVMA Animal Health SmartBrief, October 25, 2013)


October 24, 2013












Washington State 

Veterinary Medical Association 
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Phone: (425) 396-3191
Fax: (425) 396-3192
E-Mail: info@wsvma.org 

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