ISVMA Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
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June 20 , 2006


Volume III, No. 29



An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

Purple Martin
Purple Martin
©Peter S. Weber
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In this Issue

2006 Graduate Licenses Issued

Membership Renewal Period Ending

Make Sure Your New Hires Join ISVMA

Why ISVMA Advocacy is Important

AVMA Executive Announces Retirement Plans

About The Photo

Contact Us


Index of Links

License Look-up Form

ISVMA Application & Renewal Form

Find a Veterinarian

AVMA News Release on Dr. Little's Retirement Plans

Purple Martin Photo

Contact Us


Licenses Issued for Most 2006 Graduates

ISVMA is excited to announce that most 2006 graduates have been issued their license to practice veterinary medicine in Illinois. Behind the scenes, there were some major complications that were quickly resolved as a result of the outstanding working relationship between the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and the ISVMA.

The ISVMA provided assistance to the College and all 2006 graduates by contacting the licensing agency - the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) - and obtaining assistance in resolving the application complication and processing the 2006 graduate applications. Thanks to the very effective and conscientious work of Dan Harden, the IDFPR liaison to the Veterinary Licensing and Disciplinary Board, the turnaround time was almost immediate!

The IDFPR has worked very hard during the last year to expedite license processing and have been very helpful to ISVMA member veterinarians on a broad range of issues related to licensure application. The quick processing of the 2006 graduate licenses is an indication of a radically improved process at the IDFPR.

If you are a 2006 graduate (or if you have hired a 2006 graduate), you can check your license status by using the IDFPR license look-up form.

ISVMA Membership Renewals Due June 30

ISVMA membership renewals are due in the office on June 30, 2006. Dues renewal packets were mailed to all current ISVMA members during the first week in May. If you have not received yours in the mail, you can renew your membership by using the online application form or call the ISVMA to request verification that your packet was sent to the right address. Members can pay by check or credit card. Call our office at (217) 523-8387 if you need assistance or wish to renew by phone.

Current memberships expire on June 30, 2006. If members are more than 30 days delinquent in paying their dues, their memberships will be put into suspended status. While in suspended status, members will receive no benefits of membership (including all publications, emails, member access to the website, member assistance from staff, and member discounts).

Do not have an interruption of member benefits and sevices. Renew today!

Make Sure Your New Hires Join ISVMA!

If you have hired a new veterinarian in the past year, please make sure that they have joined ISVMA. We lose dozens of veterinarian memberships every year because they are lost in transition from one practice to another. You can look up a colleague's membership status by typing their name into the ISVMA Find A Veterinarian page.

Please remember, all 2006 graduates receive FREE MEMBERSHIP! Additionally, there is a 50% discount for 2005 graduates and interns/residents.

Becoming a member is easy. Use the ISVMA online membership application form to join today!

Why is Advocacy Important to the Veterinary Profession?

The ISVMA is your advocate before the Illinois General Assembly, regulatory agencies, courts and other governmental bodies. In order to understand what that means, please see a short sampling of new laws adopted throughout the country during the last few months:

· Rhode Island became the first state to mandate that cats over six months old must be spayed or neutered. The legislation is intended to save thousands of cats from being euthanized each year and ease crowding in animal shelters.

· South Carolina enacted a major revision of its veterinary practice act. The legislation makes client complaints public and establishes standards for emergency care and mobile facilities. It also specifies how veterinarians may delegate the performance of procedures, therapeutic options, and alternate therapies, requiring veterinarians to verify qualifications and competency, while remaining responsible for the general care of the patient.

· Vermont became the second state to allow judges to issue protective orders for pets of people trying to get out of abusive relationships. Other states are expected to pass this type of legislation in the future.

· Arizona legislation was approved exempting from the veterinary practice act certified equine dental practitioners working under the general supervision of licensed veterinarians. Both the supervising veterinarian and the equine dental practitioner must maintain dental charts.

· Florida approved legislation exempting from the practice act persons hired part-time or temporary, or as independent contractor, by an owner to assist with herd management and animal-husbandry tasks for herd and flock animals.

· Illinois has tightened restrictions on owners of dangerous and vicious dogs, including ownership by felons, running at large and dogs used for fighting.

· Maryland Gov. Ehrlich signed a bill to prohibit the possession or breeding of specified exotic animals, with certain exemptions.

· Hawaii legislation was enacted to direct the Director of Civil Defense and local organizations operating emergency shelters to make an area available to shelter domestic pets. New Hampshire legislation authorizes the appropriate state agency to prepare a plan for service animals to be evacuated in the event of an emergency, and specifies that such animals may not be separated from the persons they serve.

· California Gov. Schwarzenegger signed legislation designed to reduce the risk of pollution and harm to marine wildlife that could result if the aquaculture industry expands to the California coast. The new law requires fish-farming companies to reduce pollution and chemicals, tag all farmed fish, minimize the risk of fish escaping and return each site to its original condition after the operation is finished.

· At the request of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, Gov. Vilsack vetoed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have classified canines from licensed facilities as agricultural products, thereby providing commercial kennels with a sales tax exemption.

In the regulatory arena, the Maine Agriculture Committee is developing rules to adopt a meat purchasing policy that favors meat products produced without antibiotics, pursuant to legislation adopted in June 2005.

And in our nation's courtrooms, a judge in Oregon dismissed a large part of a $1.6 million lawsuit that is bringing national attention to the emotional issue of determining the value of family pets. The claim of loss of companionship was not allowed against a man convicted of intentionally running over his neighbor's dog. The judge allowed the jury to consider awarding punitive damages and compensation for the intentional infliction of emotional stress, but said that loss of animal companionship was not a viable theory under Oregon law.

Longtime AVMA Executive Announces Target Retirement Date; AVMA Plans for Future

AVMA Executive Vice President Bruce W. Little has announced his plan to retire from the Association on Dec. 31, 2007.

Executive Board Chair Robert E. "Bud" Hertzog accepted Dr. Little's letter of intent during the board's June 8-10 meeting.

"We are fortunate that, as a direct result of Dr. Little's effective leadership, AVMA is in a strong position," Dr. Hertzog said. "The thoughtful timing of Dr. Little's announcement provides us with a workable timetable that allows ample time to select the best possible successor and ensure a seamless transition.

"What Dr. Little has accomplished while at the helm of the AVMA has been phenomenal. Over the past decade, he has overseen a continued increase in membership, strengthened the Association's finances, and developed a skilled and talented staff."

Dr. Little joined the AVMA in 1985 and was promoted to assistant executive vice president in 1986. In January 1996, he was named executive vice president.

Under Dr. Little's leadership, AVMA membership has grown 27.6 percent—from 57,687 members to 73,603 members. During that time period, the AVMA experienced a 42 percent increase in staff, bringing the ratio of staff to members closer in line with that of other major, national associations.

Dr. Little has seen the Association's assets more than double since he assumed the executive vice president position, growing from $19 million in 1996 to $41.6 million today. During his tenure, an average of $1.3 million was placed annually in the AVMA's reserve funds.

Many attribute the Association's ability to achieve financial stability without annual dues increases to Dr. Little's innovative methods of raising nondues income. For instance, Dr. Little was instrumental in the profitable sale of the AVMA's original, single-story Schaumburg building and the subsequent purchase of the current, five-story headquarters building for an extremely reasonable price. This visionary real estate transaction allowed the AVMA to triple its space for just $300,000 more than the sale price of its original building.

AVMA visibility in Washington, D.C., has been dramatically heightened with the purchase and renovation of two adjoining townhouses in the heart of the nation's capital. The building houses the AVMA Governmental Relations Division and provides a meeting place for a wide variety of governmental, regulatory, and association leaders. It also signifies the AVMA's commitment to advocacy on the federal legislative and regulatory level.

"I am tremendously proud of the growth of AVMA's assets, outreach and direction," Dr. Little said. "No one individual can run an association of this magnitude by themselves. I am, perhaps, most proud of being able to hire and retain an outstanding group of people who are recognized as the foremost leaders in their areas of expertise."

Under Dr. Little's leadership, the AVMA has created stand-alone Scientific Activities and Animal Welfare divisions, created the AVMA's first Human Resources Department to ensure that the AVMA has sound and legally compliant personnel policies and practices, orchestrated a partnership to develop the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues, expanded the AVMA Communications Division, and fostered the development of a State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department.

Dr. James E. Nave, AVMA past president, said of Dr. Little, "He has done a wonderful job as the executive vice president and has always put the AVMA first, as evidenced by the long lead time he is giving the Executive Board to provide for a smooth transition."

The process for hiring the next executive vice president will include a broad-based search conducted by a search committee that will work with the AVMA's Human Resources. A representative of the Executive Board will chair the committee, which will consist of a representative of the House of Delegates and three members selected at large.

For the full story, log on to:

About the Photo in This Issue...

"Almost every country tavern has a martin box on the upper part of its sign-board; and I have observed that the handsomer the box, the better does the inn generally prove to be." — John James Audubon (1831)

Audubon’s observation illustrates the long and close association between people and the Purple Martin, a relationship that distinguishes this bird from nearly all others on the North American continent. Extremely popular and well known to much of the public, this species in eastern North America now breeds almost entirely in backyard birdhouses. Its conversion to human-made martin houses from ancestral nest sites—abandoned woodpecker holes in dead snags—was almost complete before 1900; only a few records of natural nestings east of the Rocky Mountains have been reported during the twentieth century. Yet in the mountain forests, deserts, and coastal areas of western North America, where the species is less common, it still nests almost exclusively in woodpecker holes or natural cavities. Few other species show such a marked or abrupt geographic difference in use of nest sites.

The Purple Martin’s popularity as a backyard bird has spawned a flood of literature on the species, a profitable industry in birdhouse manufacturing, and two national organizations in which martin enthusiasts regularly communicate their observations via newsletters.

The largest swallow in North America and among the largest in the world, the Purple Martin is the northernmost species of a group of closely related species whose systematics remain unclear. The genus Progne is widely distributed throughout the Americas, and all of its members share similar morphology and behavior. At least eight different species have been described at various times, but their relationships are still uncertain. The difficulty in identifying the different species in the field, and the varying taxonomic treatments, have confused the status of each in regions of Central and South America where they overlap during at least part of the year. Consequently, the Purple Martin’s migratory routes, the southern edge of its breeding range, the extent of its wintering range, and its extralimital occurrence are not known with certainty.

Surviving on a diet consisting exclusively of flying insects, the Purple Martin is not well suited to the climatic regime of middle and northern North America. The species has been recorded as far north as northern Yukon, northern Alaska, and central Labrador, but the more northerly populations are small and ephemeral. Martins are highly vulnerable to regular spells of cold and rainy weather during spring and early summer, conditions that temporarily reduce their insect food supply. Periodically, regional martin populations as far south as the mid-Atlantic states may be eliminated or reduced by cold weather.

Since it is a secondary-cavity nester, the Purple Martin has also suffered from the introduction into North America of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus), which compete with it for nest sites throughout much of the eastern half of the continent. Without human intervention and management of colony sites, starlings and sparrows can cause local extinction of martins by appropriating their nest cavities and making them permanently unsuitable for martin use.

The relatively recent conversion of Purple Martins to artificial nest sites in most of its range has probably affected its social behavior. The species is often considered “colonial” because multiple pairs nest in the same or adjacent birdhouses, but the western and Mexican populations frequently nest solitarily, and the Purple Martin’s behavior is in many respects similar to that of swallows that nest solitarily. The advantages and disadvantages of different colony sizes in Purple Martins have yet to be studied. Such research would likely reveal whether these birds experience a net cost or benefit from colonial nesting.

I photographed this adult male Purple Martin eating a dragonfly in Rochester, IL on June 17, 2006.

Contact Us

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Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
133 South Fourth St., Suite 202
Springfield, IL 62701

Phone: (217) 523-8387

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