The AVMA Board of Directors (BOD) held its spring meeting on April 9-11, 2015, and the business session took place on Friday (April 10). In all, the board approved seven new policies; reaffirmed two professional policies; approved revisions to seven policies; rescinded three policies; and referred four proposed new policies or proposed revised policies back to committee or to the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) for consideration at its July annual meeting.
Important actions were taken by the Council on Education (COE) and the AVMA BOD during this meeting; they are described in a separate blog post.
New policies approved were as follows:
- Distinction between the Process of Board-Certification and Earning a Certificate: this policy emphasizes that only veterinarians who have attained certification by a board or college recognized by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) can be considered specialists.
- Antiparasitic Resistance: the policy underscores veterinarians’ attention to contemporary guidelines and emerging scientific studies that inform their preparation of treatment protocols that they tailor for their patients.
- NIH Support of Biomedical Research Training for Veterinarians: the policy urges inclusion of veterinarians in ‘physician-scientist’ training mechanisms available through the NIH. Although the NIH Center for Scientific Review considers veterinarians to be included as applicants/recipients for these awards, many of the individual NIH institutes do not apparently abide by that consideration.
- Animal-Assisted Interventions: this policy clearly describes the classes of service, assistance, and companion animals that the veterinarian may see in practice, and thereby assist the veterinarian in addressing each animal’s unique health and welfare needs. The policy also provides support for the AVMA, the profession, and individual veterinarians in advocating for clients and their animals and their appropriate access to public areas, services, facilities, and housing—according to the function and training of the animal and the needs of the client.
- AVMA Guidelines for Animal-Assisted Interventions: the revisions reflect an 18-month process to update the policy to reflect current standards and expectations for animal-assisted intervention programs and participants, and to reinforce the important role of the veterinarian in the care and management of animals used in such activities. A minor amendment of the policy was made, and the amended policy was approved.
- 2011 Antimicrobial Use Guidelines for Treatment of Urinary Tract Diseases in Dogs and Cats: the new policy supports the use of the ISCAID guidelines as a resource.
- 2014 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Antimicrobial Therapy of Canine Superficial Bacterial Folliculitis (Pyoderma): the new policy supports the use of the ISCAID guidelines as a resource.
Polices reaffirmed included:
The following policies were revised:
- Use of Biotechnology in Development of Drugs and Vaccines: With the proposed revisions, the policy continues to underscore AVMA’s support for novel, scientifically validated animal health products that are the result of “innovative technologies,” a broader term because a universal definition of “biotechnology” remains elusive.
- Food Safety: revisions clarify the policy and remove specific mention of USDA to allow for roles of other relevant agencies.
- Training in Foreign and Emerging Animal Diseases: revisions highlight the need for a veterinarian’s knowledge of personal protection from the pathogen at hand.
- Priority Vaccination for H1N1: revisions include the removal of specific mention of H1N1 to focus on influenza in general, and recommendation for veterinarians and veterinary personnel to receive the current seasonal influenza vaccine. The revisions also change the name of the policy to Priority Vaccination for Influenza.
- Comparative Medicine and Translational Research: revisions increase clarity and relevance of the policy.
- Animal Health Information Standards: revisions provide several updates and clarifications to strengthen the policy.
- Model Euthanasia Authorization Form: revisions include changing several of the field names to improve clarity of the form; modifying a statement on individual cremation preferences; and including a statement that remains may or may not be able to be returned after conducting a necropsy of the patient.
The following policies were rescinded:
- USDA Section 1433 Animal Health and Disease Research Funds: the policy was rescinded because its intended purpose has been achieved and the subject is encompassed in broader policies.
- Guidelines for Animal-Assisted Activity, Animal-Assisted Therapy and Resident Animal Programs: this policy was rescinded when the new policies regarding animal-assisted interventions were approved (see above list of new policies)
- Wellness Guidelines for Animals in Animal-Assisted Activity, Animal-Assisted Therapy and Resident Animal Programs: this policy was rescinded when the new policies regarding animal-assisted interventions were approved (see above list of new policies)
The Board referred several proposed policies/revised policies to the House of Delegates, with recommendations for approval:
- Use of Random-Source Dogs and Cats for Research, Testing and Education: proposed revisions emphasize the importance of ensuring the good welfare of random-source dogs and cats used for research, testing and education; clearly acknowledges that scientific justification is required to support their use; and encourages options for acquisition beyond Class B dealers.
- Veterinary Pharmacology Education for Pharmacists: the proposed new policy address the ever-increasing concerns that the AVMA has received from members, and advocates for three main concepts: 1) Veterinary pharmacology education, through professional pharmacy curricula and continuing education, is encouraged; 2) Pharmacists are reminded to verify the order with the prescribing veterinarian should any questions arise, and to refer the client back to the veterinarian if there are questions about patient care and/or use of over the counter drugs in the patient, and 3) Veterinarians are reminded to deliver clear prescriptions in line with state rules, to help avoid medication errors.
- AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics: proposed revisions clarify the section on veterinary testimonials and revise the section addressing role of receiving veterinarian.
One policy was referred back to the Committee on International Veterinary Activities for additional clarification:
- AVMA’s Role in International Activities: This new policy combines two existing policies: Leadership Role for AVMA and International Veterinary Service: AVMA Organizational Objective. The two separate policies are superseded by the new policy.
The Board approved a recommendation that the AVMA host a stand-alone summit in 2016 focused on veterinary opportunities for building animal health capacity and enhancing food security.
The Board also approved implementation of the Advisory Panel Pilot Program, emphasizing that the program should be assessed regularly to evaluate the progress and outcomes and make revisions as needed. More information on that program will be coming soon.
The new and revised policies will be posted and updated on the policies page of the AVMA website within the next few weeks. Any recommendations referred by the BOD to the HOD will be posted in the AVMA governance section in advance of the July HOD meeting.