Alexandria, Va. - A select group of government and veterinary medical leaders plan to convene this month to explore instituting a companion animal health surveillance program in the United States.
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — A select group of government and veterinary medical leaders plan to convene this month to explore instituting a companion animal health surveillance program in the United States.
The meeting has been called by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which advises the president and other Executive Office officials on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. Discussions will take place Sept. 13 at the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) in Alexandria, Va., a private contractor with ties to the White House.
Objectives of the OSTP Expert Panel on Companion Animal Surveillance include discussing the feasibility and utility of a national companion animal health surveillance in the United States as a sentinal for infectious animal disease threats. Talks also will address the characteristics and components of such a system, how it could be implemented to complement existing surveillance capabilities and the requirements for a system to be successful.
"This is just the first look at the situation," says Dr. David Scarfe, assistant director of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Scientific Activities Division.
Scarfe plans to attend the forum on behalf of AVMA along with representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and supporting programs within the Department of Defense.
On the research side, Purdue University scientist Dr. Larry Glickman expects to present data gleaned from his partnership with Banfield, the Pet Hospital. Using the corporation's 75,000 weekly cases from 500 practices across the United States, he maintains the nation's largest database tracking companion animal health.
"We don't know what will come out of all this," Scarfe says. "It's too early to tell."