ISVMA Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
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December 7 , 2012


Volume X, No. 9



An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

(click on photo to see larger image)

In this Issue

Cancer-Sniffing Dogs Could Save Lives Of Women, Researchers Say

ISVMA and Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization (OCSA) Launch Veterinary Outreach Program

ISVMA Monthly Legislative Report

Purchasing Pet Drugs Online: Buyer Beware

Preparation Needed to Comply with Revised OSHA Labeling Requirements

Looking for Volunteers for the Illinois Veterinary Medical Foundation Board

About the Photo

Contact Us


ISVMA Facebook Fan Page



Cancer-Sniffing Dogs Could Save Lives Of Women, Researchers Say

(CBS) — They’re not just great companions. Man’s best friend may also be a secret weapon in the fight against cancer.


As CBS 2′s Mary Kay Kleist reports, dogs are using their noses to help with early detection.


These dogs normally work in search and rescue, but now some of them are being trained to sniff out ovarian cancer.

Read the complete story and watch the amazing video...

ISVMA and Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization (OCSA) Launch Veterinary Outreach Program

The Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization (OCSA) launched an innovative new awareness program at the 130th Annual Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association Convention in Lombard, IL on Sunday, November 4. The OCSA Veterinary Outreach Program (VOP) mission is “fighting ovarian cancer with animal passion,” and seeks to engage and collaborate with the veterinary community members who have immediate access to individuals already inclined to discuss health issues in their presence. The program will focus on raising awareness about the often-missed symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, OCSA also announced a new veterinary medicine scholarship program that will award three $5,000 scholarships beginning in 2013.

Read the full press release here.

Download the Scholarship Application here.

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 December Legislative Report.

Purchasing Pet Drugs Online: Buyer Beware

"Discount pet drugs—no prescription required" may appeal to pet owners surfing the Web, but FDA experts say it can be risky to buy drugs online from sites that tout this message and others like it. Read the full FDA Consumer Alert here.

In order to ensure the safety and efficacy of your pet's medications, ISVMA recommends your clients buy heartworm preventive medication from your veterinarian or from a source that is legally able to sell it. This medication can only be prescribed by a veterinarian under a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient relationship. Unfortunately, the pet owner,in the story below, purchased what may have been fake or outdated product, and now his dog has an advanced heartworm infection.

Quoting from the American Heartworm Society: "We had an interesting email from a pet owner in Alabama who gets his heartworm medication on-line (Florida) with no prescription. He said he was faithful in administration every month (orally for this product) and his dog has heartworm now ... Caval Syndrome (worst stage). His question was 'What can you do to help me?' It is required by law to have a veterinarian-patient relationship and a prescription to acquire heartworm medication.A blood test or veterinarian visit had not been done on this dog for 4 years. Is it possible that the product he obtained was fake or outdated? Or perhaps the storage of the product was in extreme heat or extreme cold and was old or out of date. We suggested he contact the Florida Pharmacy Board since the manufacturer of the medication can not help him since the product was purchased 'illegally' and no veterinarian-patient relationship existed. Everyone should be aware that manufacturers of heartworm preventives do not sell to "on-line" pharmacies and their acquisition of the product is through the gray market. If you want the guarantee of fresh and legitimate product, we suggest you purchase from your veterinarian. Remember: 'buyer beware when buying on the internet.'"

Preparation Needed to Comply with Revised OSHA Labeling Requirements

By NEWStat

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made changes to its labeling requirements for hazardous materials, revising guidelines that have been around since 1994.


Deadlines for training employees and implementing the changes are not yet urgent, with employee training required by December 2013 and full compliance by June 2015. Even so, many hospitals have not yet even learned of the upcoming changes, according to Laurie Miller, AAHA practice consultant.


Miller, who evaluates several veterinary practices each week, said she estimates only about half of the hospitals she has visited recently have been aware of the changes.


To prevent hospitals from being caught off-guard, NEWStat took a closer look at the new requirements and how practices can prepare for compliance.


Details of labeling requirement modifications


The new OSHA requirements state that as of June 1, 2015, all hazardous materials labels - both primary and secondary - will need to feature:


• Pictograms
• A signal word
• Hazard and precautionary statements
• Product identifier
• Supplier identification


A sample image of the new label can be viewed on the OSHA website.


According to OSHA, the changes are intended to more closely align the Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.


Benefits of implementing a globally standardized labeling system include safer handling of chemicals, less confusion in the workplace, and enhanced worker comprehension of hazards, OSHA said on its website.


While compliance will initially mean an adjustment period for veterinary practices, ultimately it will help all employees be on the same page when it comes to dealing with hazardous materials, according to Miller.


“Part of the rationale behind the new rules is to have a more consistent look both to the Material Safety Data Sheets (which will change to the term 'Safety Data Sheets') and the secondary labeling,” Miller said. “The new rules were implemented not to make a veterinary practice’s life miserable, but to state affirmatively that part of the purpose is to harmonize with international requirements.”


Tips for preparing for the requirement changes


Miller shared a few helpful tips for practices so they aren’t unprepared when the changes are officially implemented:


• Avoid procrastination - “While the training must take place by December next year (2013) and full compliance must happen by June 2015, we tend to procrastinate, and the sooner a veterinary team takes care of this the easier the compliance will be with the new program,” Miller said.


• Put someone in charge - Practices should pass the information about the labeling changes along to the person who is in charge of ensuring compliance, such as a safety officer or manager, Miller said. That person can then be responsible for ensuring that employee training and other steps toward compliance are completed on time.


• Check for updates - “Keep checking the OSHA website frequently for more updated information. I am finding that they are updating on a fairly regular basis with new training information and definitions,” Miller said.

Looking for Volunteers for the Illinois Veterinary Medical Foundation Board

Do you have experience working for a 501(c)3 charitable organization? Are you interested on serving on the Illinois Veterinary Medical Foundation (IVMF) Board of Directors? If you would like to help the IVMF achieve its mission and support student scholarships and programs that benefit the veterinary profession, please contact and let us know you would like to volunteer! We are currently looking for three at-large board members.

About the Photo

As you are driving the highways and country roads of Illinois, or are walking along Lake Michigan in Chicago, it is a good time to be on the lookout for a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). Several of these magnificent birds have already been seen in Illinois this winter.


The Snowy Owl is a large, diurnal white Owl that has a rounded head, yellow eyes and black bill. The feet are heavily feathered. A distinctive white Owl, their overall plumage is variably barred or speckled with thin, black, horizontal bars or spots. Females and juveniles are more heavily marked than males - adult males may be almost pure white, although they have up to three tail bands. Adult females are distinctly barred throughout, and have from four to six tail bands. Immatures are very heavily barred throughout, and dark spotting may co-dominate or dominate the overall plumage. Intensity of dark spotting varies with the sex of the immatures, females being the darkest. Juveniles are uniformly brown with scattered white tips of down.


Snowy Owls are active during the daytime, from dawn to dusk. They have a direct, strong, and steady flight with deliberate, powerful downstrokes and quick upstrokes. They make short flights, close to the ground, from perch to perch, and usually perches on the ground or a low post. During hot weather, they can thermoregulate by panting and spreading their wings. Snowy Owls are very aggressive when defending their nest.


The Snowy Owl is a bird of Arctic tundra or open grasslands and fields. They rarely venture into forested areas. During southward movements they appear along lakeshores, marine coastlines, marshes, and even roost on buildings in cities and towns. In the Arctic, they normally roost on pingaluks (rises in the tundra) and breed from low valley floors up to mountain slopes and plateaus over 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) in elevation. When wintering in the Arctic, they frequent wind-swept tundra with little snow or ice accumulation. At more southern latitudes they typically frequents agricultural areas.


In North America, Snowy Owls breed in the western Aleutian Islands, and from northern Alaska, northern Yukon, and Prince Patrick and northern Ellesmere islands south to coastal western Alaska, northern Mackenzie, southern Keewatin, extreme northeastern Manitoba, Southampton and Belcher islands, northern Quebec and northern Labrador. The Snowy Owl is highly nomadic. During periods of lemming and vole population crashes in the Arctic, high lemming and vole population that results in highly successful breeding and rearing of young birds, or excessive cold and snow in winter, mass movements of Snowy Owls occur into southern Canada and northern United States. These invasions occur every 3 to 5 years, but are highly irregular. Adult females stay furthest north while immature males move furthest south during these incursions.

I photographed this lost male Snowy Owl in West-Central Indiana in July!

Contact Us

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