Are We Done Yet?

Apparently not. In this case the “we” I’m referring to are women leaders, and the “not done yet” refers to Facebook COO’s Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In which examines why women’s progress in leadership roles has not moved forward in the 30 years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States.

A woman who has taken action within the veterinary profession in six short months is Dr. Karen Bradley,  this issue’s featured guest column interviewee. Dr. Bradley is the newly installed President of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI).  Watch for both Dr. Bradley and this group to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming months.  She’s not done yet.

Today marks the start of the North American Veterinary Community Conference (NAVC), and as I was preparing to write this post I was looking backward for what I wrote last year.  Blank. That was because I was on crutches last year and dealing with other health issues. I made it through, but I sure wasn’t posting. This year I’m here honored to represent the Germinder & Associates and teams at a conference packed with promise — 30 years plus after graduating. There’s no “done yet” here.

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) Helping People Help Their Pets column featuring chapter editors and  authors from the Decoding Your Dog book we unveiled last week. This includes Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB, Chair of the ACVB Public Relations Committee.  She will be signing books at the Ceva Animal Health Booth #331 on Tuesday, January 21st from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The ACVB column is just the start of new items you will be seeing on You will soon be seeing more interviews, more videos, more contests, and more just good stuff! No “done yet” there.

And finally, I thought of someone so special and treasured in veterinary medicine that has made a lasting impact in my professional career and a host of others. I initially was introduced to Dr. Bradley by Dr. Mary Beth Leininger. Dr. Leininger, the first woman president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and now a member of the prestigious AVMA’s Council on Education (COE) is hard at work to address issues in veterinary education.  I first met her when she was Chair of the AVMA Public Relations Committee and I was launching the “Pets Need Dental, Care Too!,” campaign. No “done yet” there.

Are “we” as women, no matter what our profession and what the status and level of our leadership roles done yet 30 years out? These women in veterinary medicine — collectively with a host of others — and with the support and championing of their male colleagues are not done by a long shot.  Myself?  I’ve also been supported along the way by both males and females (as I can’t forget four brothers, one of whom works with me now).  Together, we are not done.  Nope, not by a long shot.

Gotta Love Those Docs

The big news is here. This time, it’s about a very special group, the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. I’ve been privileged to work with several specialty AVMA Colleges of Veterinary Medicine over the years — beginning with the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC). No, I haven’t forgotten them. But today we are celebrating a smaller College that deserves to be bigger, and I have no doubt they will get there.  The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB).

Today is a big day for the ACVB and we’re thrilled to be a small part of it. The College’s new book, Decoding Your Dog, goes on sale today to help explain common dog behaviors and reveal how to prevent or change unwanted ones. The book is packed with remedies for behavior problems, socialization, anxiety and aggression issues and much more. We are playing a small role by also unveiling the ACVB monthly column, Helping People Help Their Pets on This month’s column features questions and answers by editors Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB and John Ciribassi, DMV, DACVB.  The book’s other editor, Steve Dale, has been a longtime contributor to and will be interviewed next month.

So why is it I and others love these docs?  The members of the ACVB are called veterinary behaviorists. They are doctors of veterinary medicine who handle the really tough issues — and solve the behavior problems that often prevent pet relinquishment.  When you consider unwanted behavior is the number one reason dogs are relinquished to shelters and rescue groups, their work is a tremendous service. Great doctors of veterinary medicine dealing with tough issues.  Yes, we love ’em and look forward to hearing more from them in their monthly column.

150 Years is A Heck of Alot of Accomplishments

This weekend marks the midyear celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Chicago with the AVMA’s annual convention.  Someone once told me the years divisible by five were the important ones.  This one’s a biggie.

While with its 13 year mark isn’t quite up there in years yet, parent company Germinder & Associates did celebrate its own anniversary of 15 years this July 1st.  Admittedly the AVMA is celebrating “a few” more decades, but it puts us in a celebratory mood.  We stand in awe of the accomplishments of the veterinary profession and so have created this special 150th Anniversary issue for the AVMA in tribute.

We’re especially excited to see the unveiling of the AVMA’s Smithsonian traveling exhibit sponsored by Zoetis and so much more at the convention.  While I truly enjoy the veterinary conferences at the beginning of the year — NAVC and WVC specifically, there is something so special about the AVMA convention. It’s always in a different city, it’s held midyear after a lull in national veterinary and pet conferences, but most important of all to me is that is the special gathering of the leaders in veterinary medicine.

We get to hear from the newly elected AVMA president, we get to hear the news from the General Assembly and many of the specialty groups hold their meetings at AVMA as well.  It’s a special conference with special people in a special place. And this year, a special celebration of 150 years of the association. Wow.  That’s a lot to celebrate.  Let’s get started, Chicago here we come!

There’s A Whole Lot of Love Going On…

“Love Your Pet, See Your Vet” is this year’s theme for National Pet Week May 5-11.  The American Veterinary Medical Association is reminding pet owners that the best way to show your pet you truly care is to give them the gift of good health.  According to Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA, “Regular veterinary visits are important because many times pets will hide symptoms of illness, so you need your veterinarian’s skill and expertise to keep your pets healthy.”

“Spreading the Love Around” is  We’ve relaunched our contest section and celebrating National Pet Week with a chance to win a gift card from Petsmart and a matched donation to Petsmart Charities.

Ceva Animal Health together with the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists  is on the road again with the “Keep the L.O.V.E. Alive Behavior Express Tour” bus this year.  The L.O.V.E. stands for “lean on veterinary expertise” and given that it’s National Pet Week, it’s a great time to remind pet owners of the tour’s message: thousands of pets die needlessly due to untreated behavior problems.  According to spokesperson Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB, “Pet owners can keep that love alive by seeing their veterinarian to help solve those pet behavior problems before it’s too late.”

Finally, news about a “beloved” trade show. The legendary H.H. Backer pet trade show in Chicago has a new format and will now be called “Backer’s Total Pet Expo” and be held September 20-22, 2013.  The show has a new website at

Whether it’s “love” or “L.O.V.E.” or “Beloved” that’s a whole lot of love going on with pets front and center. That’s good news for pets, for sure.

The L.O.V.E. Tour? Oh Yeah!

The full name of the campaign is “The Keep the L.O.V.E. Alive Behavior Express 2012 Tour,” but Steve Dale, veteran pet reporter and host of the upcoming Chicago pet fair, refers to it as the L.O.V.E. Tour for short. I like that because the L.O.V.E. (Lean on Veterinary Expertise) part emphasizes how important it really is to love our pets and solve those pesky behavior problems — with the help of our veterinarian — before it’s too late.

So what is this campaign? Ceva Animal Health  is stepping up and taking a stand to address behavior problems and reduce pet euthanasia. The College of Veterinary Behaviorists thought it was so important that they signed on as a sponsor, with board-certified diplomates in each city. Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB, is the national spokesperson for the campaign and other prominent veterinarians like Dr. Marty Becker are helping spread the word. 

The bus, which will travel 12, 000 miles, gets rolling with a kick-off event at the San Diego Zoo on August 2nd, right before the American Veterinary Medical Association Convention.  Six cities are host to pet fairs including Chicago, New York, Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.  Be sure to check out the tour dates and attend a fair if you are luck enough to have one in your city. The L.O.V.E. Tour — just getting started and a whole lot more to come!

St. Louis Celebrations

This Saturday, July 16th , the 148th Annual AVMA Convention  kicks off in St. Louis with a celebration of World Veterinary Year.   St. Louis is special to me as it is the site of my very first public relations conference 30 years ago with a celebration under the Arch.  It’s a great city.

This year, I will be at a different kind of celebration — one of the very few times I will be experiencing the conference from afar.  I will miss seeing so many people until next month at the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor Homecoming Dinner and Investment Forum.   The good news is that for the first time I and many others can receive the conference news online.  I will still have many colleagues with ears to the ground to report back. 

For those attending the conference, check out the new free MapIt APP to plan your schedule.  There are so many interesting meetings and events to attend.  For example, Ceva is offering veterinarians and other AVMA attendee a  flea & tick information session and free lunch from noon to 2:00 PM today, Saturday July 16th.  Speakers include Dr. Phillip McKinney, Dr. Mike Paul and Dr. Mark Setser with moderator Dr. Jim Humphries.

Speaking of another celebration, it’s Christmas in July as we offer congratulations again to Shane Free of  Los Angeles, our latest featured 10th Anniversary winner of an iPad and a matching $500 donation.  Shane produced a fantastic holiday video celebrating the special bond with his cat Annie who has a kidney condition.  Shane designated his matching donation to the Los Angeles Animal Services.  Read more about Shane and Annie in his column.

To read more about when formalized veterinary medicine was founded and more pet questions answered, read our Pet IQ.

For those attending AVMA, have a great conference.  I hope those of you who can’t enjoy reading about it.  I hope to see many of you in Kansas City next month.

Heading South: NAVC Kicks off Veterinary Conference Season

The North American Veterinary Conference is set to begin this coming weekend in Orlando, Florida.  This will be my 15th conference, so admittedly while I enjoy seeing what’s new in veterinary medicine as companies and organizations announce their plans, it is as much a time to reconnect with veterinary friends and colleagues and see how they have fared in 2010 AND their plans for 2011.  This conference is especially meaningful after reading all the contest entries for our 10th Anniversary contest — and the so important role a veterinarian can play in a pet’s care.  If you are pet owner, you might also enjoy visiting the American Veterinary Medical Association web site.  That’s another favorite conference, but doesn’t happen until July when the assembly of delegates elects new leadership.  There’s lots of other conferences in between and hopefully we’ll be able to report on some exciting new developments to help pets from the conferences  in the coming months.