canine scent detection training at penn vet
Veterinary News

Penn Vet Is Training Dogs To Smell COVID-19 Infection, AVMA Cancels 2020 Convention, VVCA To Accelerate Adoption of Veterinary Telehealth, and Two Victories For Ending Greyhound Racing

Your highlights from the last week in veterinary news 🤓

  • It’s finally May :)
  • AVMA Cancels 2020 Convention Due to Pandemic
  • Penn Vet Launches Training Program to Determine if Dogs Can Smell COVID-19 Infection
  • New Association Seeks to Accelerate the Adoption of Veterinary Telehealth
  • Animal Welfare Advocates Score Two Victories Against Greyhound Racing

COVID-19

AVMA Cancels 2020 Convention Due to Pandemic

avma convention center

The AVMA announced on May 1st that it has canceled the AVMA Convention 2020 along with all meetings related to the convention. This includes the Cannabis Symposium. The convention was to take place from July 31st to August 4th in San Diego.

An email was sent to all AVMA members with the announcement, in which the AVMA said, “Our top priority has always been the health, safety, and wellbeing of the veterinary community. With so much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe this is the only way to protect all our annual convention attendees, vendors, speakers, and exhibitors. Though this decision wasn’t easy to make, we believe it’s the right one.”

According to Today’s Veterinary Practice, the AVMA will refund all attendee registration fees.

The association is also working to provide virtual conference options for those who planned to attend.

Penn Vet Launches Training Program to Determine if Dogs Can Smell COVID-19 Infection

canine scent detection penn vet (Image Source: UPenn)

Recognizing the increasing threat from asymptomatic carriers of infectious diseases, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is launching a study to determine if dogs can identify individuals infected with COVID-19 based on scent.

Cynthia Otto, DVM, PhD, professor of Working Dog Sciences and Sports Medicine and director of Penn Vet’s Working Dog Center said, “Scent detection dogs can accurately detect low concentrations of volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs, associated with various diseases.”

The Washington Post reports the study began with eight Labrador retrievers.

Veterinary Business

New Association Seeks to Accelerate the Adoption of Veterinary Telehealth

girl with dog on telehealth appointment (Image Source: VVCA)

With so much emphasis being placed on veterinary telemedicine services, a new association has been formed to streamline the process of adoption and execution. The Veterinary Virtual Care Association (VVCA) seeks to “support the advancement of veterinary telemedicine and virtual care, and help it mature into a pillar of the animal care experience.”

Currently, veterinarians are subject to a patchwork of laws and regulations regarding telehealth and telemedicine — they vary state by state. The association will likely work directly with veterinary state boards to share best practices, as well as to create unified standards and policies across the country. Veterinary Practice News reports that the association is global and is open to students, veterinarians, practices, allied groups, and technology providers.

According to Mark Cushing, JD, a founding member of the VVCA, “In five years, the vast, vast majority of practitioners will utilize telemedicine and broaden virtual care beyond what you do with a smartphone.”

Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare Advocates Score Two Victories Against Greyhound Racing

Animal welfare advocates marked two wins in the fight against greyhound racing last week. The Humane Society of the United States reports that a U.S. District Court judge rejected a lawsuit put forth by the greyhound industry. The industry attempted to overturn an amendment that ended greyhound racing in Florida. Their claim was that the amendment is unconstitutional because it deprives industry workers of their livelihood.

The second victory occurred in Alabama when the Birmingham Race Course announced it will end live greyhound racing. They said revenues generated from the races have been “embarrassingly low” in recent years.

Still, Kip Keefer, executive director of the Birmingham Racing Commission, said, “What they’re talking about is not a permanent cessation of racing. It will be a considerable task to get everything back up and running, but they hope to do so.”

As of now, Alabama has no venue for live greyhound racing.

Like many humane societies and concerned animal lovers, the ASPCA considers greyhound racing a form of animal cruelty. The society notes that greyhounds made to engage in racing “routinely experience terrible injuries on the track such as broken legs, cardiac arrest, spinal cord paralysis, and broken necks.” The dogs spend most of their time in “warehouse-style kennels,” and thousands of greyhound dogs are killed every year due to racing.


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We scanned a wide range of top veterinary and local news sources, so you don’t have to:

  1. Important update: AVMA Convention 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19 | AVMA
  2. AVMA Cancels 2020 Convention Due to COVID-19 Concerns | Today’s Veterinary Practice
  3. Penn Vet Launches COVID-19 Canine Scent Detection Study | University of Pennsylvania
  4. Dogs are being trained to sniff out coronavirus cases | The Washington Post
  5. The Veterinary Virtual Care Association | VVCA
  6. New global group advocates for unified virtual care | Veterinary Practice News
  7. Advocacy group sees a bright future for remote care | Today’s Veterinary Business
  8. Greyhound racing on its last lap: Alabama closes final track; Florida judge throws out challenge to landmark racing ban | The Humane Society
  9. Birmingham Race Course ends live greyhound racing | AL
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