Quarterly Update
Arkansas State
Veterinarian's Office
Winter 2021 (Volume 9) 
Randolph Chick, DVM (479) 200-2551- cell
Pet Food Recall: Potentially Fatal Levels of Aflatoxin

Please be advised that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall on certain lots of Sportmix pet food for potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is working in cooperation with the FDA regarding this recall, as some of the recalled lots of Sportmix pet food have been found in Arkansas. As a result, we are sharing this information in case you see patients in your practice that are experiencing symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning. A link to the full recall notice can be found below:

The FDA urges veterinarians treating aflatoxin poisoning to ask their clients for a diet history. The FDA also welcomes case reports, especially those confirmed through diagnostic testing. These reports can be submitted electronically through the FDA Safety Reporting Portal (hhs.gov).

If you have any questions, please contact Cara Tharp, Director, Veterinary Medical Examining Board at cara.tharp@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 224-2836.
Vet Diagnostic Lab in Little Rock Remains Open for Business
Despite Challenges to Supply Chain

The Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (AVDL) in Little Rock is committed to providing reliable and timely diagnostic results in support of animal wellness, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AVDL has a strong continuity of operations plan in place and is continuing to serve its diverse base of stakeholders. The AVDL is noticing some disruptions to its supply chain that have the potential to affect the timeliness of procedures, and it is conserving reagents through batching of certain procedures. Increases in turn-around times for diagnostic testing are possible, especially for competitive events or time-critical procedures. The AVDL appreciates your business and looks forward to working with you as everyone continues to navigate through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important Message from the DEA

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is moving toward an ONLINE registration and renewal process. Paper notifications will no longer be mailed. Registrants can directly contact Registration Support Specialists, Julie at (571) 362-4890 or Connie at (571) 362-4891, who cover the states of Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Information: www.DEAdiversion.usdoj.gov 

The Arkansas Racing Commission approved a proposed prohibition on the use of clenbuterol and other beta2-agonists on thoroughbreds within 60 days of racing at Oaklawn Park. Any horse that tests positive for the listed drugs would be ineligible to race until a negative test is received. Other proposed rule changes include a ban on shockwave therapy and similar treatments on horses and a prohibition on racing at Oaklawn within 30 days of shockwave therapy. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock 12/11/20).

Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

USDA’s VMLRP helps qualified veterinarians offset a portion of the debt for education in veterinary medicine in return for service. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will enter into educational loan repayment agreements with veterinarians who agree to provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations for commitment to at least three years of providing veterinary services in a designated veterinary shortage area. NIFA may repay up to $25,000 of your student loan debt per year. Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received for study at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. Review the eligibility requirements to determine if you are eligible.

New Rickettsial disease agent?

The AVMA has developed a series of maps that present different lenses to view the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on veterinary medicine and veterinary professionals. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19/interactive-maps-covid-19-and-veterinary-profession

Over the next 10 years the number of dogs and cats in the U.S. is expected to increase substantially. AVMA's latest Chart of the Month shows that the dog population is projected to grow from 85 million in 2020 to over 100 million by 2030. The cat population is expected to increase even more dramatically, from 65 million to more than 82 million. View AVMA's Chart of the Month.

A creative approach can still provide the essential benefits of socialization while also following recommendations for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  "Socializing dogs during COVID-19" resources.

Veterinary colleges in the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges network received 10,273 admission applications for the 2020-21 cycle, compared with 8,645 last year, and 79% of applicants completed the cycle, compared with a typical average of 72% to 73%. JAVMA News (12/3/2020).

Veterinary Influence Apparent in DOT Ruling
The rule defines service animals as dogs that have been trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with disabilities. This allows airlines to recognize emotional support animals as pets, and more closely aligns with the definition of service animals in the Americans with Disabilities Act. DOT also is recommending a single form attesting to animal health/behavior, to be completed by the owner. Veterinarians are not being asked to say whether an animal's behavior is suitable for airline travel – veterinarians aren't required to sign any form beyond what would be done for certificates of veterinary inspections. Details - AVMA@Work blog.

COVID-19 Impacts on Retirement Planning                            

The AVMA is offering a retirement plan featuring investments, service and plan maintenance. The AVMA Trust Retirement Plan, available to practice owners and self-employed veterinarians leverages the power and size of the AVMA community to offer a 401(k) that will reduce the administrative burden of managing retirement plans for veterinarians while providing for the needs of veterinary businesses with lower management costs than single-employer plans.

From the Field: Dr. John Nilz, ADA
Livestock and Poultry Division
John Nilz, DVM is a native Arkansan who grew up on a Clark county farm and was active in 4-H and FFA. Saturday trips to the sale barn with his Dad and working the pens during high school solidified his desire to be a veterinarian. His pre-veterinary studies were completed at SAU and the U of A. After graduating from LSU, he returned to that same sale barn as “Doc”. He welcomes the opportunity of working with Arkansas livestock producers as part of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
One of Dr. Nilz’s responsibilities will be answering the question “Which way did they go?”.  There will come a time when this question will be answered in a matter of hours, accomplished by employing ADT, RFIDs, and eCVIs. Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) is a federal program that applies to cattle and other species moving across state lines. The goal is to reduce the economic impacts of a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) that could shut down animal transport and exportation. Radiofrequency identification devices (RFID ear tags) are a key component of the ADT program and provide rapid access and reduce errors in transmittal of data for livestock identification. The RFID ear tag is engineered similarly to the microchip used to identify pets; usage eliminates the need to catch the animal and to clean tags or interpret etched or faded ID numbers. Electronic reading devices allow recording of identification when used in proximity to RFID, tagged animals. RFID ear tags have 15 digits - the first three digits are 840 (International Organization For Standardization code for USA) and are commonly called “840 tags”. “Digitized data” is easily shared and can be utilized for many applications, one being the preparation of electronic Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (eCVI). Adoption of these technologies is expanding and Arkansas is striving to be a leader in the efforts. Official tags are to be distributed ONLY to premises or entities with a valid Premise Identification Number (PIN) – here is a link to obtain a PIN number for your location: AR Voluntary Premises ID System - Arkansas Department of Agriculture

Arkansas Department of Agriculture - Livestock and Poultry Division has a supply of RFID tags available for application to breeding cattle and replacements. Veterinarians can assign a PIN for their veterinary clinic to an RFID ear tag order and keep distribution records for any assigned tags. Producers may order direct with an assigned PIN. You can order these tags by calling and speaking with Ms. Cindy Taylor at (501) 823-1709 or Kory Jones at (501) 823-1722. Check our webpage at Livestock & Poultry - Arkansas Department of Agriculture for additional information.

RFID Eartag Applicators are most reliable if used specifically for a matched tag manufacturer; applicators may be ordered directly from tag vendors. ADA-LPD may have a limited supply available for purchase in the future. 
Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (AVDL)
Serology Services (501) 823-1721

Contributed by Kevin Simmons, B.S., Serology section leader. The serology section at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission (ALPC) is a high volume regulatory and diagnostic laboratory utilizing fully validated serological assays to identify antibodies for infectious diseases. The mission of the section is to provide our clients with accurate and timely regulatory and diagnostic results for herd and flock management, and to ensure the quality of our work consistently meets expectations and requirements. We offer serological assays including enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID), and agglutination tests for a range of diseases in livestock and poultry. 

The serology section participates in multiple proficiency tests which includes proficiency to perform the NAHLN scoped method for pseudorabies (PRV ELISA) testing in swine. In addition, we are an EIA (equine infectious anemia) APHIS-approved laboratory. For our poultry clients, we offer a variety of ELISAs for bacterial and viral diseases for the purposes of diagnosis, surveillance, and monitoring vaccine responses. This function includes tests that support flocks enrolled in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) such as avian influenza (AI) and Mycoplasma synoviae and Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MS/MG) testing. A complete list of tests offered by the AVDL can be found here.

The section has four team members with multiple years of laboratory experience. Team members include (L to R in picture) Lisa Crossland, Skylar Daniels, David Wilson, and Kevin Simmons. If the serology section can be of any assistance, please contact us.

AR Rabies Map - Arkansas Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Laura Rothfeldt. 
Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the nearest
ADH Local Health Unit

A listing of units can be found at www.healthy.arkansas.gov. For questions about rabies or animal bites, email the ADH Zoonotic Disease Section at adh.zoonotic@arkansas.gov, or call 501-280-4136.
Veterinary Continuing Education Opportunities

New Rules on Continuing Education requirements for Arkansas licensed veterinarians https://arvetboard.statesolutions.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Practice-Act-Rules-071820.pdf

129th Missouri VMA Convention - January 21-24, 2021                                                                

2021 Oklahoma VMA Veterinary Conference - January 28-30, 2021                                         

114th Arkansas VMA Winter Meeting - February 5-7, 2021

2021 UTCVM Annual Conference - February 5-7, 2021

2021 Midwest Veterinary Conference (Ohio VMA) - February 16-20, 2021                          

2021 Louisiana VMA Winter Meeting - February 19-21, 2021

Fetch DVM360 Conference - February 25-27, 2021                                                                         
Arkansas Department of Agriculture