Raw Food Frowned Upon, Vet Spending Up
Posted: Aug. 7, 2012, 5:30 p.m. EDT
The American Veterinary Medical Association hosted its annual convention in San Diego over the weekend and kept the 8,675 registered attendees busy as the organization issued a policy regarding raw diets for pets, revealed the results of its pet owner demographic survey, elected new leadership and unveiled the 2012 class of future leaders.
Jason Johnson, left, and Blair Hollowell, second from left, members of the incoming class of AVMA Future Leaders, accept a plaque bearing the names of the inaugural group. Presenting the plaque were initial members Libby Todd, right, and Shannon Mesenhowski, second from right.
RAW DIET POLICY
The House of Delegates approved a policy through which the association discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal-source protein to cats or dogs unless the feed has been subjected to a process that eliminates pathogens. The policy notes that cooking and pasteurization are the “traditional” methods for eliminating pathogenic organisms, but the AVMA recognizes that methods like irradiation are “being developed and implemented.”
The policy, titled “Raw or Undercooked Animal-Source Protein in Cat and Dog Diets,” does not forbid AVMA-member veterinarians from recommending a raw diet to pet owners, but it encourages owners to feed commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs.
The policy received two revisions in committee, including a change in the recommendations section from “Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs” to “Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs.”
The House of Delegates accepted the change but voted against a supplemental paragraph that read:
“The AVMA recognizes that some people prefer to feed raw or undercooked animal-source protein to their pets. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians inform pet owners of potential risks and educate them on how to best mitigate the risk of pathogen exposure in both handling the food and in managing pets consuming undercooked or raw animal-source protein diets.”
The policy, as amended, passed with 90.9 percent of delegates voting in favor.
The AVMA provided a sneak peak at the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, which will be available this fall. The sourcebook, updated every five years, includes data sourced from surveys of about 50,000 U.S. households, as conducted by the AVMA last spring.
The survey showed that total pet ownership declined from 2006 to 2011 but that veterinary spending on pets rose, led primarily by dog owner spending.
U.S. household ownership of pets decreased by 2.4 percent from 2006 to 2011, including a 1.9 percent dip in dog ownership and a 6.2 percent drop in cat ownership, the AVMA reported. The canine population dropped from about 72 million in 2006 to 70 million in 2011, a 2.8 percent decrease, while the feline population fell by 9.3 percent, from about 81.7 million in 2006 to 73.1 million in 2011.
Meanwhile, spending on veterinary expenditures increased by 14.3 percent from 2006 to 2011, outpacing inflation by about 2 percentage points. The mean expenditure per dog was $227 in 2011 compared to $200 in 2006. Expenditures per cat increased from $81 to $90.
With fewer potential clients, veterinarians need to “get back to the basics” by focusing on communication, marketing, client service and marketing, said Karen Felsted, DVM, CPA, MS, CVPM, who presented the data at the convention.
The AVMA chose Clark Fobian, DVM, as president-elect and Walter Threlfall, DVM, MS, Ph.D., as vice president.
Dr. Fobian, the District 7 representative on the AVMA executive board, is a past president of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association and owns a small animal practice in Sedalia, Mo. Dr. Threlfall, a theriogenology consultant, taught at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine for nearly 40 years.
Also elected were:
• George Bishop, DVM; Ken Bartels, DVM; and Mike Topper, DVM, to the House Advisory Committee.
• Gay Gira, DVM, to the Council on Veterinary Services.
• Stephan Schaefbauer, DVM, MPH; and Joanna Davis, DVM, to the Council on Public Health & Regulatory Veterinary Medicine.
• Billy Martindale, DVM; Patrick Farrell, DVM; and Mary Beth Leininger, DVM, to the AVMA Council on Education.
• Edward Wakem, DVM, to the AVMA Council on Biological and Therapeutic Agents.
• Jan Krehbiel, DVM, Ph.D., as AVMA executive board chair.
• Dr. Thomas Meyer, DVM, as AVMA executive board vice chair.
The AVMA and Pfizer Animal Health identified the members of the 2012 Future Leaders program.
Now in its second year, the program aims to develop volunteer leaders for the AVMA and other organized veterinary groups by helping participants develop leadership and problem-solving skills.
The 10 members of the 2012 class were selected from about 60 nominees who graduated from veterinary school within the past 15 years.
The new members are:
• Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, of Dade City, Fla.
• Jennafer Glaesemann, DVM, of Fairbury, Neb.
• Karen Grogan, DVM, of Dacula, Ga.
• William Hill, DVM, Dipl. ACLAM, of Knoxville, Tenn.
• Blair Hollowell, DVM, of Virginia Beach, Va.
• Jason Johnson, DVM, of North Brunswick, N.J.
• Virginia Kiefer, DVM, of Charlotte, N.C.
• Douglas Kratt, DVM, of Onalaska, Wis.
• Rebecca Stinson-Dixon, DVM, of Reidsville, N.C.
• Kelvin Urday, DVM, of Park Hills, Mo.
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Raw Food Frowned Upon, Vet Spending Up
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