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Veterinary Forum August 2008 (Vol 25, No 8)

Editor's Note — Meeting our mission

by Marie Rosenthal

    Everyone knows they should read the fine print before committing to anything. Veterinary Forum has some new fine print on page 2, and I urge you to read it before reading this issue. It is our editorial mission statement.

    A mission statement is the beacon for any organization that takes the time to craft one — it is there to guide you back to the light if you lose your way. Although every business (which includes both publishing companies and veterinary practices) is trying to earn a living, we have a higher calling — in my case to provide good clinical news and information, and in your case, to practice the best medicine you can so you can increase your patients' survival and improve their quality of life. If I carry out my mission correctly, it might help you carry out yours, plus I will be publishing a successful news journal.

    But I am luckier than some of my colleagues in the publishing business because I have such an interesting, dynamic and constantly changing field to cover. One of the upsides of having such interesting content is the opportunity to win writing awards from our peers, and Veterinary Forum is having a winning year. Over the past 3 months, we have won five journalism awards.

    The first award was the Eric W. Martin from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) for a February 2007 cover story about canine cognitive dysfunction ("Identity theft: when senior dogs forget"). Most members of the AMWA write about human medicine, and if you look at the list of winners, they are largely articles about human medicine. I can't say that an article about veterinary medicine has never won, but I can say they rarely make the cut. I think that this prize highlights once again how important our pets are to us. The article also shows that veterinary medicine is on the cutting edge of so many areas of interest to both physicians and veterinarians.

    Although cognitive dysfunction in dogs differs from dementia disorders in people, dogs serve as models for studying the problems and finding medications that will help. Something else this article shows is that it is all One Health. My own mother struggled with early dementia. I remember how heart wrenching it was to watch her fade from being an intelligent, funny, forever-young adventurer to a fearful, old woman who often was bitter. I hope that the research being done today finds ways for both man and beast to overcome this terrible disease.

    Our May 2007 cover story, "Forget everything you know about ticks," was like winning a trifecta, pulling in three awards: a Grand Award for Editorial Excellence from Apex; a bronze for best feature from the American Society of Business Publication Editors; and a Tabbie International B2B Award from the Trade Association and Business Publications International (TABPI).

    As someone who is interested in infectious diseases, this story was a lot of fun for me to write. I talked with experts like Dr. Michael Dryden about the changing epidemiology of ticks, where they are going, what they are transmitting and why.

    One wouldn't necessarily put ticks and socioeconomics in the same sentence, and yet, as we buy bigger houses on larger wooded lots filled with white-tailed deer eating our tulip bulbs, we endanger more than our flowers. We put our dogs, cats and selves at risk for the diseases that ticks carry. The story talks about all of the factors — from climate change to the growing deer population — that affect vector-borne diseases in this country. It also provides some ways that we can avoid ticks in our homes and yards.

    Finally, our Associate Editor, Paul Basilio, won his first journalism award, an Apex Editorial Excellence Award for the March 2008 cover story, "Share their pain." This was a great story that discusses the mechanism of pain, how it works and where you can intervene to help your patients. After it was published, one veterinarian told me she gave a copy to her mother to read because she had been urging her mother to discuss many of these multimodal approaches to pain management with her primary care physician and her mother had been ignoring her.

    For all of these and our other articles, we interview experts in academia and the field to provide the latest thinking and research on a particular topic that speaks directly to our mission. I hope you think so, too. And I promise that Veterinary Forum will continue to work toward this goal.

    NEXT: Expert shares new protocol to manage heartworm signs