ISVMA Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
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March 5 , 2012


Volume IX, No. 13



An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

American Robin
American Robin

(click on photo to see larger image)

In this Issue

AVMF Disaster Relief Grants

FDA Investigating Illegal Online Sale of Handheld Dental X-Ray Units

Upcoming CE Meetings

ISVMA Monthly Legislative Report

One in Five Veterinary Offices Inspected Last Year Stocked Expired Medications

Antibiotic-Resistant MRSA in Livestock May Spread to Humans

About the Photo

Contact Us


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AVMF Disaster Relief Grants

AVMA and ISVMA have been concerned for the people, animals and veterinary practices impacted by the terrible storms in Southern Illinois last week. We wish to share information that may be of assistance to veterinarians and veterinary practices impacted by the storms.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has established AVMF individual reimbursement and relief awards (grant programs) to assist veterinarians in the wake of a disaster. The Veterinary Practice Relief program and the Disaster Veterinary Animal Care Reimbursement program were created in 2005 in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster to ensure veterinary care to the animal victims of a disaster.

Veterinarians affected directly by disaster can apply for up to $2,000 in assistance. Those who incur costs by offering veterinary medical services to the animal victims of disaster can apply for up to $5,000 in assistance.

Below are the direct links to additional information on these grants:

Anyone interested in donating to these programs can contribute at the AVMF website

FDA Investigating Illegal Online Sale of Handheld Dental X-ray Units
Devices could be dangerous due to unnecessary radiation exposure

The U.S Food and Drug Administration is warning dental and veterinary professionals to not purchase or use certain potentially unsafe hand-held dental X-ray units. The FDA is concerned that these devices may not be safe or effective and could expose the user and the patient to unnecessary and potentially harmful X-rays. The units, sold online by manufacturers outside the United States and directly shipped to U.S. customers, have not been reviewed by the FDA and do not meet FDA radiation safety requirements.

The Washington State Department of Health alerted the FDA after tests on a device purchased online revealed it did not comply with X-ray performance standards.

As a result, FDA is investigating the extent of the problem and notifying state regulatory authorities, dental professional organizations and other health organizations about the safety risks. To date, no adverse events have been reported.

A hand-held dental X-ray unit is a small, portable device that is intended for dental X-ray examinations. All units that have been cleared by the FDA bear a permanent certification label/tag, a warning label, and an identification (ID) label/tag on the unit. Use of these devices requires a prescription from a licensed practitioner.

“Health care professionals using these devices should verify they are purchasing and using those that have been reviewed and tested to meet FDA’s standards,” said Steve Silverman, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

To ensure this, users should:

• Verify the presence of required labels on the device.
• Ask vendors whether the device has been reviewed and cleared by the FDA.
• Access the FDA Medical Device Approvals and Clearances searchable database to verify that the X-ray unit has been cleared by the FDA.
• Contact their state regulatory agency if they become aware of a device that may be hazardous or does not meet the FDA’s requirements.

The FDA will continue to monitor this problem and keep the public informed as new information becomes available.

Questions about this alert can be directed to the Division of Small Manufacturers, International and Consumer Assistance (DSMICA) at DSMICA@FDA.HHS.GOV, 800-638-2041 or 301-796-7100 .

Upcoming CE Meetings

• The Mississippi Valley VMA will hold its 108th Annual Conference on March 7-8, 2012 at the Par-A-Dice Hotel in East Peoria, IL. For program information, please visit the Region IV web page. Registration is now only available on-site.

• The Eastern Illinois VMA will hold its Spring Conference on March 22, 2012 at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois in the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building. A scanned copy of the registration form is available for download.

• The KVVMA is holding its Spring Meeting on March 28, 2012 at the Weitendorf Agriculture and Horticulture Center in Joliet, IL. The speaker is Todd Duffy, DVM, DACVECC; he will be speaking on the topics: "What is new is CPR - it may take your breath away!" and "Interesting Cases in ER and Critical Care." A copy of the program brochure can be downloaded from this website. Online registration is also available.

• The Southern Illinois VMA will hold its Spring Meeting on April 12, 2012 at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Fairview Heights, IL. For program and registration information, please visit the Region I web page.

• The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association will hold a Small Animal Dentistry Workshop/Lab on April 20, 2012 at Northgate Pet Clinic in Decatur IL. The program will include a morning lecture and afternoon lab for doctors and technicians. The speaker will be Larry Baker, DVM, DAVDC. Registration will soon be available on the ISVMA website and program registration brochures will be mailed within the next several days.

• The Northern Illinois VMA will hold its Spring Conference from 8:00am-4:00pm on April 25, 2012 at the Tebala Shrine Center in Rockford, IL. Topics in infectious disease will be presented by Richard B. Ford, DVM, DACVIM, DACVPM (Hon). Registration will soon be available on the ISVMA website and program registration brochures will be mailed within the next few days.

ISVMA Monthly Legislative Report

In an effort to keep ISVMA members more aware of Illinois politics and legislative and regulatory actions that impact their practices, ISVMA publishes a monthly legislative report. Please read the February Legislative Report.

One in Five Veterinary Offices Inspected Last Year Stocked Expired Medications

This story should serve as a sobering reminder to veterinarians to check your stock regularly for expired or soon-to-expire medications. And don't forget to properly dispose of expired medicines, either.

Antibiotic-Resistant MRSA in Livestock May Spread to Humans

Livestock in the United States may be building resistance to deadly bacterial infections, and those superbugs may be easily transferrable to humans, according to a new study published in the journal, mBio. Read more...

About the Photo

American Robins have become synonymous with the coming of spring. But is this an accurate association, or have these lovely singers that brighten our spirits been given too much credit?


The days are getting longer, the air holds a scent of freshness, crocuses pop out of the soil. Yes, spring is on its way. But for many natives of North America, it won't seem like spring until a certain bird appears. With their sprightly step, bright red breast, and cheerful song, American Robins have long been seen as the harbingers of spring. But is this really accurate? Just where do robins choose to migrate when the temperatures begin to drop, and are they really the first birds to return in the spring?


The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a member of the thrush family, the largest member in fact. As a species it is easily identifiable by its bright orange breast feathers and its cheerful song. Robins can be found in virtually every type of habitat in North America; from open spaces like fields, pastures, and parks, to more confined areas like pine forests, shrubby areas, and woodlands. Their extreme adaptability to both suburban and wilderness habitats has made them a common sight across the continent, from the cold northern climate of Alaska to the balmier climate of Mexico.


However, robins do not always migrate south in the winter. When the days begin to shorten and the first frosts of winter appear, some robins may indeed choose to migrate. If this is the case they will spend the winter months in the southern states of the American continent, Mexico, or perhaps even as far south as Central America. But some robins choose not to migrate and will instead spend the winter months in their natural breeding habitats. Those that choose not to migrate will be much less visible because in the winter months robins usually roost together in large flocks in more wooded areas.


The woodlands are a likelier source of berries for the brave winter-weathering robins. While robins consume a quite varied diet; from earthworms and small insects to berries and fruits, their diet becomes more limited over the winter as the ground freezes and insects die, making berries their main source of food over the colder months. As a result, robins spend the majority of their time in the winter months in trees, not hopping around on the ground in the cold- probably a wise move!


And so, contrary to popular opinion, that first robin sighting in the spring might not be a sign of spring. It may just be a bold robin who has weathered the cold and has decided to venture out of his winter roost. So why is it that these particular birds are often associated with the coming of spring across the American continent?


Perhaps it is their cheery nature; the familiar, lilting song, their bright red chest feathers, the way they hop blithely across the backyard as if to chase the snows of winter away. Perhaps it's because their presence signifies that the ground may be at last thawing and earthworms moving in the sun-softened soil. Whatever the case may be, the American Robin has left its indelible mark on the mind of millions who eagerly await the first signs of spring.


I took this photograph of an American Robin in Springfield, IL during the winter of 2008.

Contact Us

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Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
1121 Chatham Road
Springfield, IL 62704

Phone: (217) 546-8381

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