ISVMA Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
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August 26 , 2008


Volume VI, No. 5



An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

American White Pelican
American White Pelican

©Peter S. Weber
click on picture to view larger image

In this Issue

World Rabies Day 2008

AVMA Issues Statement on CA Proposition 2

2008 ISVMA Annual Convention Registration

Meet Your General Session Speakers

Life Member Plaques Available

About the Photo

Contact Us

Contact Us




World Rabies Day 2008: Awareness is the Best Defense against Rabies

The world is again joining together on September 28th to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention. Rabies is the oldest and deadliest disease known to mankind and the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association is supporting this initiative.

Led by the Alliance for Rabies Control and supported by numerous human and animal health organizations worldwide, World Rabies Day is a unique campaign that brings together hundreds of thousands of people across the world to reinforce the message that rabies is a preventable disease, yet kills 55,000 people needlessly each year, half of which are children under the age of 151.

“Rabies is primarily a disease of children, who are particularly at risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major global source”, said Dr. Debbie Briggs, Executive Director of the Alliance for Rabies Control. “Children are more likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies. Children are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred from an infected animal”, says Briggs.

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans. The disease is transmitted mainly by bite, but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal. Once neurological symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans. The good news is that rabies is easily preventable. “Vaccination prior to possible exposure is a crucial part of health management of domestic animals, and is the single most important factor in rabies prevention”, said Peter Costa, Global Communications Coordinator for the Alliance for Rabies Control.

Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Protect yourself, your pet and your community by taking animals to be vaccinated. Avoid stray animals and wildlife. If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately. Prompt and appropriate treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease in humans and animals.

A cornucopia of valuable resources on rabies education and prevention is available at Veterinary professionals may use this information to inform their clients and promote vaccination.

ISVMA will also issue a statewide press release in an effort to heighten awareness of the importance of vaccinating pets to protect both the animal and their human owners from rabies. We encourage you to also write an opinion editorial for your local newspaper using the information in the above referenced documents to help with the worldwide effort to prevent rabies infection.

AVMA Issues Statement on California Proposition 2

(Schaumburg, Ill.) August 26, 2008—The largest and most respected veterinary association in the United States is cautioning that the California ballot initiative, Proposition 2, while admirable in its attempt to address the behavioral needs of animals, contains livestock confinement standards that may hurt the animals they are intended to help.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) issued a statement today, which, in part, reads: “The AVMA believes Proposition 2, ‘Standards for Confining Farm Animals,’ is admirable in its goal to improve the welfare of production farm animals; however, it ignores critical aspects of animal welfare that ultimately would threaten the well-being of the very animals it strives to protect.”

“Proposition 2 may have negative impacts on animals, consumers and the industry if it’s passed,” explains Dr. David McCrystle, AVMA Executive Board chair. “We fully agree that more attention needs to be paid to the behavioral and social needs of food animals, and Proposition 2 is laudable in that it attempts to address these needs, but the standards in this ballot initiative fall short in improving animal welfare because they fail to adequately consider other factors. Animal welfare is a complex issue and demands that decisions be based on science, tempered with compassion, and take into account all aspects of welfare. Changing housing standards without consideration of how this may affect other aspects of animal welfare, such as protection from disease and injury, will not be in the animals’ or society’s best interest.”

For more information, please visit

ISVMA Convention Registration Is Available Online

The ISVMA Annual Convention is being held at the Westin Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL on November 7-9, 2008. The printed prospectus (with detailed program descriptions and a registration form) will be mailed in the next several days. However, you have a chance to get an early jump on your colleagues and register today!

Early registration is strongly recommended if you wish to participate in one of the nine (9) wet labs being offered. The ISVMA wet labs have been very popular and sell out quickly. A description of each of the wet labs is available on the online registration form. ISVMA is still securing contracts and session descriptions from speakers; however, we have created a list of speakers and topics that we have already confirmed.

ISVMA has built a reputation for providing a high-quality, affordable and accessible continuing education program for its members. The ISVMA Annual Convention is the highlight of our education program and the ISVMA Education Planning Committee has put together a program based upon the expressed needs and desires of our membership. We have recruited well-known, highly-rated speakers to address topics that are relevant and important to you and your practice. The wet-labs have expanded each of the last three years and we are now offering them on all three days of the convention.

The increased requirements for CE in Illinois make it even more important that ISVMA continue to provide a high quality, affordable and accessible CE program for its members. You and your staff can attend the ISVMA Annual Convention without the high cost of airfare, extended hotel stays, and costly per diems. You can also FULFILL YOUR ENTIRE CE REQUIREMENT by attending the ISVMA Annual Convention each year.

We know that you have many options to meet your CE requirements. We hope that you will support ISVMA by attending our convention - it is for you!

Meet Your General Session Speakers at the 2008 ISVMA Annual Convention

The ISVMA Annual Convention has earned a reputation as one of the best state association meetings in the country. The quality of the scientific and practice management program is vitally important to the success of the ISVMA Annual Convention. But we also want you to have fun! We have planned networking opportunities for you to engage your colleagues, classmates and develop new relationships that can enhance your personal and professional life. We have also hired two general session speakers (Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald and Tim Cavanagh) who will entertain you and offer a light-hearted compliment to the excellent education program. This year's general session speakers are worth the registration fee alone!

Dr. Kevin FitzgeraldMeet Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald (photographed at the 124th ISVMA Annual Convention)

"Being rejected your first time is normal for veterinary school applicants," explains Dr. Fitzgerald. What most determined students do - after their first rejection - is what Kevin did. But he kind of did it the long way.
While getting his master's, then Ph.D. and then teaching at the University of Hawaii, he worked summers as a bouncer and toured with The Rolling Stones, George Clinton, Willie Nelson, The Who, Bob Marley and Elvis.

Later - way later - he graduated veterinary school at Colorado State University. He then started working at the Alameda East vet hospital. Over the years, because of the kind of guy he is, he become a specialist in exotic-animals. That, and his comedic on-screen antics are what landed him on Animal Planet's Emergency Vets show.

Dr. Fitzgerald will lend his special brand of humor to participants at the ISVMA Annual Convention on November 7, 2008. If you have seen him before, please let your colleagues and staff know that they had better not miss out - make sure they register for ISVMA convention!

For more information about the hilarious Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, you can visit the Animal Planet website from which most of the above information was gleaned.

Tim with Bob and TomMeet Tim Cavanagh
(photographed here with Bob & Tom)

Comic wordplay, funny songs and clean, first-class fun are what set Tim Cavanaugh apart from other comedians. Chicago Magazine calls him "a wonderful original whose songs poke fun at, yet embrace people — a relief from the sexist ploys many stand-ups engage in ... one of the best and cleanest acts on the comedy circuit."

Cavanaugh's "The One Minute Song" was a regular segment on "The Bob and Tom Show" for about two years. Many of the songs, such as "Tim's Blues," "Get Drunk with Dignity" and "Another White Christmas," have been included on "The Bob and Tom Show" comedy albums.

Cavanaugh taught at a Catholic high school in his hometown of Chicago before setting out to become a stand-up comedian in 1979. He began performing at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago, and it wasn't long before his funny songs gained notoriety. "I Wanna Kiss Her (But She Won't Let Me)" became a hit on the nationally syndicated "Dr. Demento Radio Show." He became a frequent guest and contributing writer on "The Danny Bonaduce Show," a radio show heard in Chicago, Detroit and New York City. Other successful songs followed and received airplay across the country.

Cavanaugh made his prime time network television debut in 1988 on ABC's "George Schlatter's Comedy Club Special" hosted by Dudley Moore. He also appeared on Comedy Central's "Stand-Up Stand-Up" and "Showtime Comedy Club Network." Nowadays he headlines at comedy clubs across America and performs for hundreds of college and corporate groups. Many drive-time radio shows across the country feature Cavanaugh as a regular guest.

ISVMA Life Member Plaques Available

As the annual ISVMA convention grows near ISVMA and Spinner Plastics would like to remind you that ISVMA Life Member Plaques are available to commemorate those veterinarians whom have served the veterinary profession and the ISVMA for 35 Years or more. This plaque features the ISVMA logo engraved in gold on a blue marbled plate and is mounted on an 8in x 10.5 in solid wood back along with the following proclamation:

ISVMA gratefully bestows
Veterinarians Name, DVM
In recognition of
35 years
of dedicated service
to the
veterinary profession

By ordering before the September 30th deadline you will save $15.00 off of the set up charge. These plaques are being sold at wholesale price of $93.30+ tax and shipping (shipping is typically around $15.00 within Illinois). Note: Spinner Plastics will charge your card for the entire amount; ISVMA will not handle any monetary transaction for the plaque, tax, or shipping costs. You may call the Fax in your order to the ISVMA at (217) 546-5633 or you may contact the ISVMA office at (217) 546-8381. Spinner Plastics may be reached at (217) 523-8585.

About the Photo

The American White Pelican is a huge, white bird with an orange bill and feet. They can weigh as much as 30 pounds and their wing spans can exceed nine feet. Their enormous, outstretched wings show black primaries and outer secondaries in flight. During breeding season, the upper mandible develops a fibrous keel (horny plate) and the bird shows a small, yellowish crest on the back of the head. Young birds duskier than adults.


A flock of migrating American White Pelicans is a majestic sight. During spring or fall migration in Illinois, you may look up and see a long line of ponderous birds, flapping and coasting. Each bird seems to take its cue from the one in front of it, beginning to flap and starting a glide when its predecessor does. These birds ride rising air currents to great heights, where they soar slowly and gracefully in circles. If you witness such a glorious sight, you are likely watching a flock of American White Pelicans.


Unlike the Brown Pelican, American White Pelicans do not dive for their food. Rather, they cooperate to surround fish in shallow water, scooping them into their pouches. They can take 3 gallons of water and fish in their pouch and, after scooping their meal, they point their bills downward to allow the water to drain and then raise their bills so they can swallow the fish that remain. Each bird eats more than 4 pounds of fish a day, mostly carp, chubs, shiners, yellow perch, catfish, and jackfish.


American White Pelicans nest in colonies of several hundred pairs on islands in remote brackish and freshwater lakes of inland North America. The most northerly nesting colony can be found on islands in the rapids of the Slave River between Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta and Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. About 10-20% of the population uses Gunnison Island in the Great Basin's Great Salt Lake as a nesting ground. The female lays 2 or 3 eggs in a shallow depression on the ground. Both parents incubate.


They winter in central California and along the Pacific coast of Guatemala; also along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, its bays and estuaries and along the Mississippi river at least as far north as St. Louis.


Habitat loss, draining of wetlands, and pesticides are among the known causes of nesting failure, with flooding and drought also being recurrent problems. Predation by coyotes, ravens and gulls is also common. Human-related impacts on the species include entanglement in fishing gear, boating disturbance and poaching (in addition to habitat degradation). The American White Pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.


I photographed this breeding American White Pelican at Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area near Canton, Illinois in the Spring of 2008.

Contact Us

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Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
1121 Chatham Road
Springfield, IL 62704

Phone: (217) 546-8381

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