April 16, 2012
Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Applications
The application period for the next cycle of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) is tentatively scheduled for April 16 to June 15, 2012. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will accept applications from veterinarians who can commit to three years of veterinary services in a designated food-animal veterinarian shortage area. NIFA may repay up to $25,000 of student loan debt per year for awarded applicants.
The USDA has approved six veterinary shortage areas in Minnesota again this year. A map of the shortage areas in Minnesota is available at the USDA website.
Interested veterinarians need to apply by June 15. For more information, please visit the USDA VMLRP applicants page.
USDA Initiates Passive Surveillance for Schmallenberg Virus
Schmallenberg virus is an infectious disease that was first identified last summer in domestic livestock in Europe. The virus was found in dairy cattle that were off feed with a fever and reduced milk production. Later in the fall, reports of abortions and stillbirths with congenital malformations were reported in sheep, goats and cattle. These cases were also associated with Schmallenberg virus infection. Given the emergence and rapid spread of this virus in Europe, the USDA Veterinary Services (VS) is initiating passive surveillance for this virus in the U.S.
The USDA laboratory in Ames, Iowa will test samples forwarded from state veterinary diagnostic laboratories when a case meets specific criteria to establish suspicion for disease caused by the virus. If two or more females in a herd or flock produce offspring with AHS (arthrogryposis hydranencephaly syndrome), accredited veterinarians should consider submitting cases to the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MVDL)
for a diagnostic workup that would include testing for Schmallenberg virus. AHS signs include stillbirth, premature births, mummified fetuses, arthrogryposis, hydranencephaly, ataxia, paralysis, muscle atrophy, joint
malformations, torticollis, kyphosis, scolliosis, behavioral abnormalities, and blindness.
There are other causes for these reproductive problems in hoof stock including other infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies or genetic abnormalities. Please contact Dr. Jeremy Schefers at the MVDL for additional information on submitting samples for diagnostic evaluation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-625-8787.
To date, the Schmallenberg virus has been found in animals in eight European countries. This virus is classified as an orthobunyavirus; a group of viruses spread by insect vectors such as midges and mosquitoes.
Reappointed Board Member
Dr. Holly Neaton from Watertown, Minnesota was reappointed to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on March 21, 2012.
Holly Neaton practiced at the Watertown Veterinary Clinic for 18 years. She then spent 14 years working for Beckman Coulter prior to her retirement. Neaton now works independently with local medical device companies and manages a large sheep flock with her husband, Paul.
Dr. Neaton has been a Board member since 2002. Her insight on animal health issues and disease control measures have been extremely beneficial to the Board. As both a veterinarian and producer, her experience has made her an invaluable resource.
We congratulate Dr. Neaton on her reappointment to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.