AVMA Winter Session 2013: What Will Change?

By Karin Krisher

The veterinary guidelines established by the American Veterinary Medical Association are far from random. The decisions of the group depend on thorough research, consultation, rigorous debate and yes, a vote. In 2013, the AVMA House Delegates will consider some big topics, including revision of policies regarding homeopathy and canine devocalization.

Because many of our loyal veterinarian customers are likely members of the AVMA, we wanted to quickly summarize some issues on the table so that you have a thorough opportunity to voice your opinions. Interestingly, one of the proposed changes touches on exactly that opportunity.

According to Veterinary Practice News, The AVMA will consider a change that will bring information to you, more easily. Currently, the House must post intended bylaw changes in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association at least 30 days before the session—but that’s in print. The change would see the 30-day period begin when the proposed changes are posted on the AVMA website, rather than when the current, printed issue of the Journal is released.

Another important AVMA resolution is one that affects who will actually make bylaw changes in the future. Currently, each member of the House Advisory Committee must hail from each of seven different areas of the profession (e.g. government, equine). The passing of this resolution would “make all House Advisory Committee (HAC) positions At Large (not designated professional categories), and specify that there cannot be more than 1 delegate or alternate from the same state or allied group represented in the HOD serving on the HAC simultaneously.”

Microchipping made its way into the proposed resolutions. The revised recommendation states that “Scanning animals for microchips is necessary for the identification system to be effective. Therefore, every companion animal dog, cat, other small mammal, bird, fish, reptile, amphibian, and equid presented to a veterinarian should be scanned, whenever possible, for the presence of a microchip.”

Previously, this recommendation included only companion animals, birds and equid without reference to more exotic animals. We’ve noticed more inquiries about small mammals and reptiles in recent years, which makes us think this resolution is right on time. Have you had the same experience at your practice?

The Headline Story

One of the most talked about resolutions involves the AVMA’s stance on homeopathy. The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association submitted a resolution that “proposes that AVMA have a policy that states homeopathy is an ineffective practice and that its use as a veterinary therapy be discouraged.” Because many veterinarians do use homeopathic methods, this resolution has produced general controversy. The AVMA’s stance will be revealed after the House Delegates meet for the 2013 Winter Session in Chicago on January 5.

Interested in the future of the AVMA? We are too. Share your thoughts about the proposed resolutions on our Facebook page!

(All quotations from avma.org resources)