Pets and Vets: Alaska university accused of failing to provide sufficient veterinary care to resident musk oxen


USDA alleges violations of the Animal Welfare Act after 12 musk oxen died at a university facility.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed a complaint against the University of Alaska Fairbanks for possible Animal Welfare Act violations after 12 musk oxen starved to death at the school's large animal research station, according to the complaint document.


The complaint filed by the agency says the university failed to provide adequate veterinary care, identify that the musk oxen were losing weight or enlist veterinary treatment for the animals. It also says that the animals died or were euthanized between August 2010 and February 2011 and that the "gravity of the violations is great."

The university has yet to formally respond, but spokeswoman Marmian Grimes told the Associated Press that major changes had been implemented in the wake of the deaths. The die-off was blamed on a deficiency of trace minerals such as copper. The animals looked emaciated even though they had access to hay. A failure to file a response to the complaint constitutes an admission of all the material allegations of the complaint, according to the USDA document.


A look at the world of animal health


A jury has sided in favor of Stephen Klause, DVM, after he was sued by 79-year-old Margaret Workman for medical bills incurred to correct a surgery Klause performed on her 8-year-old golden retriever, according to the San Marino Tribune.

Klause performed surgery to remove a mass around the dog's liver in December 2008. The suit claims that Klause did not fully inform Workman about the outcome of the surgery and that his inadequate medical records made it difficult for follow-up care at the Animal Emergency Referral Center in Torrance, Calif., according to the Tribune. Workman asked for $43,780: the total for the surgery performed by Klause and the care provided at the Animal Emergency Referral Center.

Howard Fischer, DVM, DACVS, who performed the follow-up care, testified that Klause left a piece of gauze in the stomach, nicked her small intestine with his scalpel, and improperly repositioned the stomach while closing a hole after removing the mass.

Although the jury found Klause negligent, they determined his conduct was not a "substantial factor" in causing the dog's injuries.


Longtime Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member James McKean, DVM, MS, JD, died April 10, according to a university release. McKean was internationally known as a leader in efforts in disease surveillance and helped develop tools designed to eradicate serious diseases from the U.S. pork industry.

McKean is best known for his involvement in the removal of the Pseudorabies virus from the U.S. pork industry in 2004 and an eradication program for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. Before his death, he was working to eradicate porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, introduced to the U.S. in 2013.

"Dr. McKean's tireless commitment to swine health and well-being will be greatly missed," says Lisa K. Nolan, DVM, MS, PhD, dean of Iowa State's College of Veterinary Medicine, in the release.


Jennifer Creed, DVM, of Elburn, Ill., has filed a lawsuit against the creator of anonymous websites she says are trying to hurt her business, according to the Kane County Chronicle. Creed owns A+ Pet Vet and Dr. Jenn's Ragdolls, a ragdoll cat breeding business.

The suit, filed against John Does 1-5, requests unspecified damages and asks that the defendants be forced to remove the content in question. It states that Creed "has suffered and continues to suffer damages including, but not limited to, harmed reputation, embarrassment, mental anguish, loss of business and emotional distress." Creed is requesting a jury trial.

The websites claim that Creed has kept her ragdoll kittens in poor conditions. Creed alleges the site operators have also sent e-mails to businesses in the pet breeding and veterinary community attacking her character and warning against doing business with her, according to the Chronicle.


Lauren Bright has become the first student to graduate from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine's combined doctor of veterinary medicine-graduate degree program, in which students earn a DVM and a PhD at the same time, according to a university release.

In 2008, Bright was one of the first two students admitted to the new program, and this May, she became the first graduate when she received her DVM degree. She will receive her PhD in spring 2015.

According to the release, two students per year can enter the seven-year process, which provides the skills and knowledge for future animal and human health researchers.

Bright graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor's degree in animal and veterinary sciences. And when she was applying to veterinary schools, she got a letter inviting her to apply to MSU's brand new combined degree program.

"I hadn't really imagined anything beyond being a veterinarian," Bright says in the release. "However, once the door was opened with the dual-degree program, I decided it would be an amazing opportunity."

After rcompleting her PhD, Bright is considering pursuing specialty training like laboratory animal medicine or emergency and critical care medicine.

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