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Veterinarian Technician September 2008 (Vol 29, No 9)

News Briefs

    Technician specialty academy approved

    After 6 years of planning, the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians (AVBT) has been accepted by the NAVTA Committee on Veterinary Technician Specialties as the newest Veterinary Technician Specialty (VTS) academy. It will be inducted at the 2009 NAVC Conference in Orlando, Fla., and the board hopes to hold its first examination at the AVMA conference in 2009.

    Having a technician specialty in behavior will clarify and promote the unique role that all members of the veterinary team have in improving animal behavior. "Technicians are client educators, nurses, puppy/kitten school teachers and sometimes even family therapists when it comes to pets. Almost everyone who owns an animal can name at least one area of the pet's behavior that he or she would like to change. Our ultimate goal is [aiding in that process] and promoting the human"animal bond," said AVBT President Julie Shaw, RVT.

    The other board members are Ginny Price, MS, CVT, vice president; Linda Campbell, RVT, secretary; Angela Licari Martin, CVT, treasurer; and Marcia Ritchie, LVT, member-at-large.

    Currently, there are four VTS academies: emergency and critical care, dentistry, anesthesia and internal medicine.

    QUEST: prolonged survival seen in canine heart failure patients

    SAN ANTONIO A 3-year clinical study in dogs with heart failure (HF) found increased survival in those receiving pimobendan (Vetmedin, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica), said Jens Häggström, DVM, PhD, DECVIM-CA (Cardiology), at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum held here.

    The Quality of Life and Extension of Survival Time (QUEST) study was a multinational, multicenter, blinded study that compared pimobendan with benazepril. The researchers compared the time it took to reach a primary endpoint for dogs receiving either drug. The primary endpoints were spontaneous cardiac-related death, euthanasia because of heart disease, or treatment failure.

    Study dogs had to be older than 5 years of age, weigh between 5 and 20 kg and have echocardiographic evidence of mitral valve disease, as well as have had evidence of heart failure on thoracic radiography.

    One hundred thirty dogs were recruited and randomized to either pimobendan or benazepril. They were permitted to continue any standard HF treatments, such as furosemide or spironolactone, but could not take any other cardiac medications. They were reevaluated regularly and were followed until they reached a study endpoint or were censored for other reasons. Three-quarters of the study dogs reached a primary endpoint.

    About 25 of the 260 dogs were still alive at the end of the study, which was about a 10% survival rate, according to Häggström. Dogs in the pimobendan group had a median survival time of 267 days, and dogs in the benazepril group had a median survival time of 140 days, Häggström reported.

    Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica funded the study.

    For More Information:

    Häggström J, Boswood A, O'Grady M, Olaf J. Effect of pimobendan on survival of dogs with congestive heart failure due to myxomatous mitral valve disease. Presented at: The ACVIM Forum. San Antonio, Texas; June 4-7, 2008.

    AAVSB changes examination policy

    The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) has recently updated its policy regarding the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). Effective Jan. 1, 2011, a VTNE candidate must be a graduate of an AVMA- or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association-accredited veterinary technology program or a program approved by the regulatory board of the jurisdiction where the examination is given. For more information on this change, visit www.aavsb.org or contact Cate Daniels, VTNE administrator, at cdaniels@aavsb.org or 877-698-8482, ext. 226.

    New survey weighs criteria for pet food recommendations

    ST. LOUIS Veterinary technicians and veterinarians agree that manufacturer credibility, in-depth nutritional research and natural ingredients factor into their well-pet food recommendations.

    The online survey, which was sponsored by Nestlé Purina PetCare, drew responses from more than 500 veterinary technicians and more than 100 veterinarians. Survey results point to the need for additional resources and continued educational outreach to all veterinary professionals.

    According to 63% of technicians and 77% of veterinarians, the most important aspect of a well-pet diet was whether the manufacturer had a tradition of high standards. A well-pet diet backed by in-depth nutritional research was important to 47% of veterinary technicians and 70% of veterinarians, with rigorous quality control seen as an important component by 42% of technicians and 56% of veterinarians.

    Forty-five percent of veterinary technicians regarded a food containing high-quality meat as the first ingredient as important, with 24% of veterinarians sharing this view. A food containing no fillers or by-products was seen as important to 33% of technicians but only 9% of veterinarians.

    Seventy-six percent of technicians and 70% of veterinarians cited a healthier pet appearance as the most expected benefit of a diet comprised of natural ingredients, followed by a stronger immune system (49% of technicians and 51% of veterinarians).

    Overall, respondents expressed confidence in making recommendations to clients about well-pet food: Nearly half of the technicians and veterinarians surveyed said they were "very confident" when making these types of recommendations to clients.

    "Veterinarians and technicians consider a range of factors when making their well-pet food recommendations, and all are valid," said Grace Long, DVM, MS, MBA, director, veterinary technical marketing, Nestlé Purina PetCare.

    NEXT: On the Cover — A Talk with Marianne Tear, MS, LVT VETERINARY TECHNICIAN's Chief Technician Editor