News Article | May 13, 2017
With massive tornadoes hitting Texas the end of April, taking at least four lives, injuring dozens more and destroying countless homes, it couldn’t be more timely to recognize National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. The awareness event serves as a call-to-action to prepare for not only tornadoes but also all types of emergencies, and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) urges pet owners to include pets in disaster preparation plans. One of the key components of developing a disaster preparation plan is establishing an evacuation strategy, which involves determining how to get your pets safely out of the house and off the property and finding a safe place to stay. Many disaster shelters do not accept pets, so find one that does ahead of time or secure an alternative safe haven for your pets. Consider making arrangements for boarding in case of home destruction. In addition to dogs and cats, it is crucial to plan ahead and make sure farm animals and livestock are also accounted for. It is important to assemble a survival kit for each of your pets. Just as humans need food, water and additional items such as medication, pets will need an ample supply of these things as well. In the kits, there should be at least three days worth of food and water, photos of pets for identification, proof of health care, emergency contact information and your veterinarian’s contact information. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has species-specific guides and resources available to the public to ensure you have all possible necessities. Making sure your pet is properly identified is also imperative. If your pets happen to get lost during an evacuation or a disaster, you will have a much better chance of finding them if they are microchipped and tagged. It is also important to maintain an up-to-date contact information list with phone numbers for the veterinarian, fire department, police station, animal shelter and the nearest relative or friend who could shelter your pet. “We may not always be together at home with our family and pets when disaster strikes, so we have to be prepared to communicate with and relocate our family and pets,” said TVMA Immediate Past President Sam Miller, DVM, of Village Veterinary Clinic in Houston. “In the event you are away from home, it would be a good idea for a neighbor or family member to have access to your house so they can assist in your disaster response.” About the Texas Veterinary Medical Association Founded in 1903, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is a professional association composed of more than 3,700 veterinarians committed to protecting public health, promoting high educational, ethical and moral standards within the veterinary profession and educating the public about animal health and its relationship to human health. For more information, call 512/452-4224 or visit http://www.tvma.org. ###
News Article | May 8, 2017
Activ4Pets, provider of online and mobile platforms that give pet parents easy access to their pet’s health information along with web-based veterinary consultations, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kevin Ross Kimber, M.S., D.V.M. as its new Chief Veterinary Medical Officer. Dr. Kimber brings over 15 years of veterinary experience to Activ4Pets and will provide progressive veterinary leadership for Activ4Pets ‘s Mobile health platform, including guidance on best practices for Activ4Pets preventative pet health care resources to help pet parents be more proactive about their pet’s well-being. Dr. Kimber will serve as the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer of Activ4Pets and well as its sister company, Activ4Vets, which provides staffing and peer consultation services to veterinary professionals. Dr. Kimber holds a Masters in Zoology from Cornell University, graduating from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Kimber is licensed to practice Veterinary Medicine in New York and Minnesota, with licensure pending in Florida. Dr. Kimber’s expertise include Small Animal and Exotic Medicine with clinical interests in dermatology, internal medicine, preventive medicine, infectious diseases and epidemiology, behavior, dentistry, nutrition, and ophthalmology. Dr. Kimber has published on a wide variety of topics in journals such as the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, and he has held positions in a variety of local, state, and international education and research programs. He has clinical experience in rural, urban, and suburban small animal and exotic animal practices. “We are incredibly pleased to welcome Dr. Kimber to the Activ4Pets family,” said Florent Monssoh CEO and founder of Activ4Pets. “His wealth of experience in veterinary medicine and his commitment to the care of both pets and their owners will be invaluable in guiding Activ4Pets toward its goal of providing accessible, affordable, and quality veterinary care to pet parents everywhere.” Dr. Kimber will help forward Activ4Pets mission of bringing reliable, widely available, and cost effective veterinary care to pet parents across the nation. The first telemedicine platform for veterinary care, Activ4Pets is designed to address some of the biggest concerns facing pet parents when it comes to the health of their pets including rising vet costs, the complications of maintaining and accessing health records (especially during travel or with new vets), and keeping up with checkups, medications, and vaccinations. “The telemedicine model has been used for several years in human medicine, with positive results from the patient and the provider viewpoint,” said Dr. Kimber. I’m excited to join the wonderful team at Activ4Pets in bringing this powerful model to veterinary medicine and help bring busy pet parents convenient, affordable, accessible pet care tools. The maintenance of centralized records will also aid researchers in gathering real-world data regarding common diseases in pets, and will prove clinically invaluable to pets, pet parents, and their veterinarian.” Activ4Pets allows pet parents to track their pet’s entire medical history, medication and appointment information, as well as find location based information on groomers, sitters, pet friendly locations, emergency care, etc. all through the easy to use Activ4Pets App or through the Activ4Pets web platform. What’s more, Active4pets offers e-consults with licensed veterinarians through a simple web-chat format, allowing pet parents to save on money and travel for simple routine problems or questions, while simultaneously providing expert advice whenever they need it, wherever they may be – even when they are outside the practice range of their regular veterinarian. Activ4Pets is the first company of its kind, enabling pet owners to access their pet's complete health history and even consult with their veterinarian online – all via an easy to use web or mobile app based platform. The platform is accessible anytime, anywhere on the planet. With Activ4Pets you are never more than a click away from your pet's wellness information.
News Article | March 2, 2017
Avoid low-quality and contaminated pet food with information about recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Credit: Colorado State University Pet food recalls have made headlines in recent weeks, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that eight brands of cat, dog and rabbit food have been pulled from store shelves since the start of 2017. These foods have been recalled for containing possibly low levels of vitamin B1 and for carrying disease-causing bacteria, pieces of metal, and traces of the animal euthanasia agent pentobarbital. Pet owners may find information about recalled pet food by visiting the FDA website. More information about pet food adulterated with pentobarbital is available in this FDA news release. The American Veterinary Medical Association also provides information about pet food recalls and alerts on its website. Pet food recalls occur for many reasons. In general, the process exists to protect consumers from food that does not meet quality standards or is tainted with pathogens, excess or deficiency in vitamins or minerals, and contamination with toxins. Two recent pet food recalls have resulted from contamination with pentobarbital, a drug used in veterinary practice for humane euthanasia of sick or injured animals. Five dogs reportedly became ill after eating the food; one died, according to the FDA. Pentobarbital is not allowed in pet food, and adulterated food should not be legally sold. "t is not acceptable to use animals euthanized with a chemical substance in pet or animal foods," an FDA spokesperson told Food Safety News. The FDA, in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is investigating the products that tested positive for pentobarbital to determine a possible cause for the drug's presence. The agency is focusing on suppliers of beef ingredients for pet food, it announced. How do you know if your pet's food is safe? It is important to choose food from companies that follow supply-chain regulations and enforce quality controls, including testing of products to detect problems before food reaches the marketplace. To know more about a manufacturer's quality control measures, contact the company directly. Manufacturers are expected to test both raw materials and finished products to ensure food safety. Many recent recalls have involved raw pet food and canned pet food. Canned food is cooked at high temperatures to ensure it is free from pathogens. However, this process may also lead to vitamin and amino acid degradation if not done properly or if these nutrients are not supplied in sufficient amounts. Raw pet food presents higher risk for pathogen contamination and foodborne illness. Several recent recalls have resulted from food contamination with the infectious bacteria Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Cooking food at high temperatures is the most effective way to eliminate pathogens, therefore raw pet food – including frozen, fresh and freeze-dried food – presents a higher risk for contamination. For this reason, the AVMA discourages raw diets for pets and provides more information in its policy on "Raw or Undercooked Animal-Source Protein in Cat and Dog Diets." If you are worried that your pet ate a contaminated food, contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic.
News Article | October 28, 2016
Dr. Peggy McMahon was born and raised in the Windy City – Chicago, IL. She attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, earning her Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Integrative Physiology. She also earned a minor in Chemistry. She worked in a molecular biology research lab at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine prior to pursing a career in veterinary medicine. After receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree with honors from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2011, Dr. McMahon migrated to Los Angeles where she completed a Small Animal rotating internship. She also completed a Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care residency at Animal Specialty and Emergency Center. Her professional interests include transfusion medicine, trauma, respiratory disease, cardiac disease, and endocrine emergencies. Her considerable contributions to and achievements in the field make her ACVECC certification well-deserved. Over the course of her career, Dr. McMahon has diligently helped interns and students pursue their veterinary medicine degrees. She has written articles for notable veterinary journals, including Veterinary Medicine Research and Reports, Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility, and PLoS Biology, and has also presented an abstract at the Biophysical Society’s 51st Annual Meeting in March, 2007. In addition to her direct contributions to the field, she’s received considerable recognition for her hard work. In 2009, she was awarded the Lisa Coole Memorial Scholarship; she was awarded the Wanda L. Muntwyler Scholarship in 2010; and she received the Sam’s Award Scholarship and the Kremer Help Save Pets Scholarship in 2011. She also belongs to several respected veterinary organizations, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. McMahon lives in Los Angeles with her dog and cats: Silas, ChaChi, and Frim, respectively. When not in the ER, she competes in triathlons and marathons. She also enjoys hiking, backpacking, crossfit training, cooking, volunteering, and reading. Animal Specialty Group (ASG) has been providing pets with the best compassionate care and most advanced specialized treatments for over 20 years. The well-respected animal hospital has specialists from multiple disciplines, all working under one roof. Cutting-edge treatments in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Neurology, Cardiology, Physical Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine as well as Emergency and Critical Care are offered to dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes, through referrals from family veterinarians across the Southern California area and beyond. In addition, ASG offers one of the nation’s premier 24/7 emergency facilities, available to any pets in need. ASG’s expertise has been recognized by an AAHA practice consultant on approximately 900 standards that directly correlate with providing stellar care for pets. They also run a residency program, in conjunction with various veterinary medicine colleges, that prepares graduate veterinarians for board certification and specialty practice. Animal Specialty Group is located in Los Angeles, CA, but it serves veterinary communities throughout the entire Southern California region, from San Fernando to Irvine and Santa Monica to San Bernardino. To learn more about ASG or to schedule an appointment, please visit http://www.ASGvets.com/ or call (818) 244-7977.
News Article | February 22, 2017
TOPEKA, Kan., Feb. 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Animal Clinic of North Topeka, P. A. today announced its support of National Pet Dental Health Month. This special month is sponsored by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), a non-profit veterinary organization, and is meant to raise awareness of the need for dental care in companion animals. Animal Clinic of North Topeka recognizes that dental care is needed to prevent pain and debilitation in pets and offers a full array of services to keep the animals' mouths healthy and free of problems. Just as with humans, dogs and cats can develop a full array of dental problems if care is not taken to prevent them. These include cavities, cracking and breaking of teeth, periodontal disease, and more. Even so, many people still think that animals don't need dental care. National Pet Dental Health Month was created to help dispel this myth and improve care among the pet population. "It's a common misconception that dogs and cats have teeth that take care of themselves. Domestic pets are in very different conditions than their wild counterparts. This is good for the animals in most ways – it provides a steady food supply, protection from predators, and treatment for disease – but it does have a couple of drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is that commercial pet food does not adequately remove tartar from the teeth," explained Dr. Bryan Stancliffe, DVM. Several measures are recommended for preserving the health of the teeth of dogs and cats. The first is the same as for humans: brushing the teeth. Since pets can't brush their own, owners should attempt to do it for them. If started young, the majority of pets will learn to tolerate this on a daily basis. Older animals, however, may refuse to go along with the procedure. For them, special tartar-fighting treats are available. Though these aren't quite as effective as a toothbrush, they are better than providing nothing at all. The next step is the dental cleaning. In pets, this requires general anesthesia, so it is done on an as-needed basis. A veterinarian will let the pet owner know when this is recommended. Professional cleanings are essential for preventing periodontal disease. If larger problems have arisen, tooth extraction may be needed. This is typically done instead of root canal treatment. It is also required if a tooth has cracked, broken, or otherwise developed problems that would cause pain to the pet. Animal Clinic of North Topeka, P. A. offers teeth cleaning and extractions for pets. They also offer a full array of other veterinary services, parasite prevention, emergency appointments, boarding, and grooming. For more information on their services and hours, visit their website at http://animalclinicoftopeka.com/.
News Article | February 12, 2017
Parents, beware: accidental poisoning from pet medicines is likely to happen among children when less attention is given to storing these seemingly harmless veterinary medications. The warning in your disinfectant and pesticide packaging to "Keep Out Of Reach Of Children," must be applied to pet medicines, too. Some 74.1 million households in the United States own at least one pet. There were at least 78 million dogs living in the household as pets back in 2012. And half of these households have children below 19. The results of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that accidental poisoning is high among children 19 years old or younger. Preventable poisonings among children accounted for more than 60,000 emergency cases and almost one million calls to poison centers; 48 percent of annual calls made to poison centers involved children below five years old. From 1999 to 2013, the Central Ohio Poison Center, for instance, recorded 1,431 cases of accidental poisoning among children. Eighty-seven percent of these calls involved children below five years old. Eighty-eight percent of the exposures were related to pet medicines for canine, whether they were through ingestion (94 percent) and ocular (2.1 percent) or skin contact (1.1 percent), with most of these cases happening at home. "It's much more common than we thought," COPC Director Henry Spiller, one of the authors of the study, said. The research indicated that these accidental poisonings had no serious medical effect. Parents are urged, however, to pay attention to storing medicines, including medicines for pets, carefully. At Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, parents are counselled on medication safety. These pet medicines may appear "yummy candy to kids," Dr. Tanya Altmann, founder of Calabasas Pediatrics, said. It is a must, she said, that these medicines are kept out of children's reach. She reminded parents that children are curious and eager to explore everything. The children might "accidentally get into something that they shouldn't," she added. To prevent accidental poisoning, parents must ensure that medicines are stored in child-resistant containers, and pet medicines must be stored separately from human medications. Dr. Michael Topper of the American Veterinary Medical Association advised pet owners when administering medicines to their pets. "If pet owners are unsure on how to give it, before they leave the vet, ask them to give lessons on how to give pills to your pet," Topper said. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | February 19, 2017
RICHMOND, Texas, Feb. 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- February is National Pet Dental Health Month. During this time, Kindred Care Pet Hospital is making an extra effort to raise awareness of good dental care for dogs and cats. Pet owners may not expect veterinarians to tell them that their dogs and cats have periodontal disease, yet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have at least the beginnings of gum disease by the time they are three years old. “Pet owners often joke about their cat or dog's bad breath,” Kindred Care Pet Hospital veterinarian Dr. Paul Fidelis says, “but often they don't realize that severe halitosis may be a sign of dental infection getting ready to spread to internal organs.” In addition to bad breath, other signs of pet periodontal disease include discolored teeth and gums, teeth that are chipped, cracked, loose or missing, swollen gums, and discomfort when eating. "Annual dental checkups are important," Dr. Paul Fidelis says. "We show pet owners obvious signs of trouble and explain what isn't so obvious, including tartar below the gum line that feeds bacteria." Tartar forms from plaque, a sticky, colorless film on teeth caused by the combination of mouth bacteria in saliva. An animal's body perceives the bacteria as an invader that the immune system needs to attack. The immune system sends white blood cells to battle the bacteria, which results in gum inflammation and loss of tissue and bone. Following a dental exam, Dr. Fidelis says, he tells pet owners whether cleaning and any corrective work is necessary, such as extractions. Pet dental procedures require anesthesia, he explains, because it makes the process safer and more comfortable for both pets and veterinarians. Dr. Fidelis suggests placing a little bit of flavored pet toothpaste (beef, chicken, and seafood, for example) on a finger and gently rubbing it up and down on a pet's teeth. "Do it daily for about a week and then try a soft pet toothbrush," Dr. Fidelis suggests. "Some tiny toothbrushes fit on a fingertip to make brushing easier." Kindred Care Pet Hospital is a full-service Richmond veterinary clinic. In addition to dental care, it provides wellness exams, vaccinations, spay and neuter operations, diagnostics including digital imaging, surgery, and emergency care. The clinic is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. For appointments, call (281) 265-0009 or visit their website at http://kindredcarepet.net/ for more information.
News Article | October 28, 2016
Vetary, a division of Finrise, today announced it has launched the only marketplace exclusively for pet-care financing and wellness. Pet owners can now get qualified for immediate financial assistance, anytime and from any device, and veterinarians can offer financial solutions directly at the point of sale. Vetary’s breakthrough cloud-based financing solution eliminates the need for special credit terminals and much of the paperwork and administrative costs involved with legacy options. Those savings are passed on to both veterinary practices and the pet owners they serve. The process can be completed in just a few minutes, with terms presented in a completely transparent interface over a tablet or mobile phone. In addition to financing options, Vetary pet owners benefit from a comprehensive ecosystem of pet health information and 24/7 live support. “Unfortunately, there aren’t enough great insurance options for our pets, as there are for other members of the family.” said Finrise medical director Dr. Zachary Landman, M.D. “Vetary makes sense. Pet owners can simply and easily afford for care when it’s needed, and pay for it on a timeline that makes sense for them.” Americans spent an estimated $15.73 billion on veterinary care in 2015, with three quarters of pet-owning households making at least one trip to the veterinarian. According to an APPA survey, dog owners spent an average of $235 on routine vet visits in 2015 — cat owners $196. The average lifetime cost of a dog is $23,410 but can go as high as $100,000, with nearly 40% of the cost going toward health care. And yet, less than one percent of the 90.5 million cats and 73.9 million dogs owned by Americans are covered by pet health insurance. “What Vetary is doing is truly remarkable and will come as a welcome relief for pet owners and veterinarians alike,” said Dr. Theodore (Ted) Cohn, DVM, Vetary’s clinical advisor and recent president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Anyone who has worked in veterinary medicine has experienced the frustration and dismay of deferred care or even care shelved indefinitely, due to financial considerations. Many owners love their pets as much as any member of the family, and yet they still struggle to find reasonable ways to afford even the most basic care for their animals. Vetary provides a smart and fair way of addressing those concerns, so that animals can receive the veterinary medical care, which they need.” Beyond making pet care affordable by paying over time, the Vetary team utilizes design and data to enable universal access to best-in-class pet health information and resources. “The Vetary technology and digital wellness ecosystem simplifies being a pet owner,” says Tyler Quiel, Vetary COO and co-founder. “We want pet owners to take an active role in managing their pet’s health. This includes decision-support services, symptom checkers, qualified treatment options, and a constantly updated list of pet-care providers — for free. In fact, more than a quarter of a million pet owners have benefited from the Vetary ecosystem since launch.” Pet owners and Veterinarians aren’t the only one to benefit from the cost saving technology. Vetary gives back to local 501(c)(3) animal organizations through The Vetary Foundation. To date, Vetary has engaged with more than 200 animal rescue and care organizations. Each time a pet owner is referred from a partner organization, the Vetary Foundation makes a donation. Vetary will be available immediately in Utah and Missouri, with additional expansion in other regions of the U.S. in coming months. Veterinarians can now sign up to offer their patients affordable financing options or painlessly switch from an existing solution at https://www.vetary.com/credit/vets. Pet owners can prepare for their next visit by prequalifying at https://www.vetary.com/apply/credit/. Vetary is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). About Finrise Finrise is building tailored solutions to suit both doctors’ and patients’ needs, starting with Vetary, which launched exclusively into the $29B veterinary market in early October 2016. Finrise is the simplest way to finance treatments and services that are not typically covered by insurance, directly in the doctor’s office. Our mission is to increase the accessibility of quality healthcare, starting with patients of dental, audiology, and veterinary services. The entire process is seamless — with the financing provided in the form of a transparent interest rate loan with multiple term options and immediately available payment. Finrise is headquartered in Burlingame, CA with investment from NFX Guild, Mayfield, WTI, and several notable private institutional and individual investors. For more information, please visit https://finrise.com/.
News Article | February 27, 2017
BEIJING & LIAOCHENG, CHINA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Global investment firm KKR has invested in Gambol Pet Group (the “Company” or “Gambol”), a leading provider of high-quality pet food headquartered in Shandong Province, China. Gambol and KKR are partnering to expand the Company’s production capacity in key markets including China, Thailand, countries in Europe, and the US, where it is currently the largest private-label provider of pet treats to Walmart. Gambol further aims to leverage KKR’s experience in food production and in implementing best practices in the area of food safety and security to provide even greater pet nutrition solutions to customers around the world. Qin Hua, Chairman & CEO of Gambol, said, “High quality pet food is critical to ensuring the health of pets. By partnering with KKR, we aim to expand and provide healthy packaged pet food to customers both overseas and in China. KKR will become a truly value-added partner to Gambol with their deep expertise in the global pet sector, with Chinese consumers, and in the area of food safety.” Gambol is one of the largest pet food exporters in China, supplying products to a broad customer base in Europe, Asia and North America. In its local market, the Company’s “Myfoodie” pet food brand holds the #1 ranking in China’s pet treat category and is a leader in the dry food category, according to China Feed Industry Association. The pet category is one of the fastest-growing consumer sectors in China with a compound annual growth rate of over 30% in the past few years, according to the data from Goumin.com. However, the market is still fragmented and under-developed, posing opportunities for players like Gambol with differentiation in technology and product quality. In addition, China’s pet food sector is still at a nascent stage compared to other markets. According to Stratop Group, only 13% of Chinese urban households have pet dogs. Meanwhile, more than 36% of American households own dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In China, packaged pet food penetration is only 14%, compared to more than 90% in the US. Chris Sun, Director at KKR China, said, “Gambol is well-positioned to capture new opportunities in the pet food sector globally and in China given Gambol’s extensive industry expertise, product innovation capabilities and long-term commitment to producing safe, high- -quality pet food. We look forward to working alongside this experienced and capable management team to build a true industry leader in the emerging pet market.” KKR makes its investment from its China Growth Fund. Further details of the transaction are not disclosed. Headquartered in Liaocheng, Shandong Province in China, Gambol is one of the largest pet food manufacturers in Asia with 6 facilities in China and 1 facility in Thailand. Gambol provides a wide range of pet food products including dry food, wet food, real meat jerky treats, rawhide chew, dental bone etc. Through stringent food safety control through supplier management, raw material test, processing control, finished product test and after-sales traceability, Gambol achieves highest industry quality standards and supplies to a broad customer base worldwide, including US and Canada Walmart. Gambol was the one of the largest pet food exporters in China in 2016. Gambol sells pet food product in the China market through its “Myfoodie” brand, through both online and traditional retail channels. Myfoodie ranked #1 in the pet treat category and top 10 in all pet related product categories. For additional information about Gambol, please visit Company website at www.gambolpet.com KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages investments across multiple asset classes including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit and hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world‐class people, and driving growth and value creation at the asset level. KKR invests its own capital alongside its partners' capital and brings opportunities to others through its capital markets business. References to KKR's investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR), please visit KKR's website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.
News Article | November 3, 2016
WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today awarded more than $4.3 million to 48 American veterinarians to help repay a portion of their veterinary school loans in return for serving in areas lacking sufficient veterinary resources critical to America's food safety, food security, and to the health and well-being of animals and humans. The awards, made through NIFA's Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), will fill shortage needs in 27 states. "Veterinarians play a critical role in keeping our nation's food supply safe and animals healthy," said NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy. "The need for veterinarians in designated shortage areas is urgent. This loan repayment assistance program provides incentives for students to take up rural veterinary practices and help take care of American livestock." Studies indicate there are significant shortages of food animal veterinarians in certain areas of the nation and in high-priority specialty sectors that require advanced training, such as food safety, epidemiology, diagnostic medicine and public health. A leading cause for this shortage is the high cost of professional veterinary medical training that leaves current graduates of veterinary colleges with, on average, student loan debt of more than $135,000. New award recipients commit to practice at least three years in a designated veterinary shortage area. Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial educational loans received for attendance at an American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree or the equivalent. This is the fourth year NIFA has made renewal awards through VMLRP. Previous awardees that still owe at least $15,000 in educational loans are eligible to apply again, though renewal is not automatic and applications are subject to the same competitive review process as new applications. In 2016, NIFA received 187 applications and made 48 awards totaling $4,391,144 in benefits. These include 38 new awards totaling $3,563,989 and 10 renewal awards totaling $827,155. New veterinarians who received degrees within the last three years account for 47.4 percent of new loan recipients. Participants are required to serve in one of three types of shortage situations. Type 1 shortage areas are private practices dedicated to food animal medicine at least 80 percent of the award recipient's time. Type 2 shortages are private practices in rural areas dedicated to food animal veterinary services at least 30 percent of the time. Type 3 shortage areas are dedicated to public practice and awardees must commit at least 49 percent of their time. The new VMLRP awards include 11 Type 1 awards, 32 Type 2 awards and five Type 3 awards. A map of veterinary service shortage areas by state is available online. Since the program was implemented in 2010, more than 300 veterinarians have helped fill shortage situations in 46 states. Two recent participants, Idaho-based veterinarian Annie Bowes and Kentucky-based veterinarian Tim VanDerPloeg, talk about the program's impact online at Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Pays Dividends. USDA has invested $19 billion in research and development since 2009, touching the lives of all Americans from farms to the kitchen table and from the air we breathe to the energy that powers our country. Learn more about the many ways USDA scientists are on the cutting edge, helping to protect, secure and improve our food, agricultural and natural resources systems in USDA's Medium Chapter 11: Food and Ag Science Will Shape Our Future. Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit http://www. , sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.