The President's Letter:

December 2013

Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association Members,

I just returned from the Arkansas One Health Conference hosted in Little Rock.  The conference was organized by the USDA APHIS VS, Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, Arkansas Department of Health, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, USDA Wildlife Services, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, AR Department of Environmental Quality, FBI and the Bayer Corporation.  How often do we see all these agencies and a crowd of veterinarians, physicians and public health officials in the same room together?  Well, it was a very successful and impressive task accomplished by Dr. Brandon Doss, AR Assistant Sate Veterinarian, and his colleagues.

The conference was part of the One Health Initiative, a strategy to integrate the communication and collaborations of human medicine, veterinary medicine and environmental health.  Why One Health?  Because 60% of human pathogens are zoonotic diseases and well over 70% of emerging infectious diseases are vector-borne or zoonotic. Over a 12 year period of time, zoonotic diseases cost the U.S. $6.7 Billion.  Who are the subject matter experts on zoonotic diseases?  Our profession is an integral part of the identification, education and elimination of zoonotic diseases and illnesses of humans and animals.

Recent research has identified Bartonellosis as a potential to be a huge zoonotic concern.   The implications of fleas and ticks in the transmission of this disease is concerning!  How often do we brush flea dirt from a table with our hands and do not consider the risk that up to 45% of healthy cats could be bacteremic yet asymptomatic and that Bartonella is stable is flea feces for up to 9 days?  Are we concerned enough about our own health and the health of our staff members after a cat bite or scratch?

This year has been a significant year for ticks and tick borne diseases.  Ticks can also transmit Bartonella and that 1/3 of dogs that test antigen positive for E. Canis can be co-infected with Bartonella species in some regions.  Fascinating and yet alarming facts, right?  I hope this will make us seriously consider our tick and flea control protocols and to educate our clients about the possible implications of some of these emerging and quiet scary diseases that we as veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing and treating.  For more information about the One Health Conference, please contact Dr Brandon Doss.

It has been an honor to serve as your 2013 President of the ArVMA.  It has been a great journey that has opened my eyes to the wonderful members of our profession and to all that we do daily across the state and nation.  In order for our Association and Profession to continue to be strong in the face of changes in veterinary medicine from local, state and national issues, we need members of our profession to step up and take more leadership roles.  We need you to be the face and voice of the profession in our communities.  We need you to get involved with our Association so the future leaders can emerge and take the reins!

Come out and join us at our Winter Meeting in Hot Springs, Jan 2 – Feb 2, 2014.  We have a great meeting planned with lots of interesting CE, a fun filled exhibit hall, school alumni mixer, Association business meeting, and new this year,  a Saturday evening PAC fundraiser.  We are planning a silent auction with food and drinks, entertainment and time to meet with your Lobbyist team and fellow colleagues.  More details to come.

I look forward to seeing you in Hot Springs!  Thanks for all your support this year and for all that you do for our Profession.  Have a wonderful holiday season!

Kate Williams, DVM



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