Welcome to the official web site of the Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association, a professional organization representing veterinarians across Jamaica. We invite you to explore the site and see for yourself who we are and why we do what we do.
JVMA to engage Ministry of Education in discussions on veterinary student funding
Veterinary Medical students at the UWI-SVM (Photo - Dr. Julie-Anne Small
The Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association has written to the Ministry of Education regarding the Government's decision to remove the 85% fee subsidy for students studying veterinary medicine and dentistry at the University of the West Indies’ St. Augustine campus in Trinidad as of the new 2015 – 16 academic year. The change was brought to the Association's attention because of the plight of six students who, having been accepted by the UWI-SVM, were only informed of the change during their registration process.
In a letter to the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal Professor Clement Sankat, dated May 5th, 2015, the Ministry of Education explained that the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar versus its United States counterpart has made it increasingly difficult for the Government to meet the financial obligation. The Cabinet, on March 30, 2015, approved the decision to end the 85% funding of new veterinary and dental students. Those already enrolled in their respective programmes would still be funded to completion with the caveat that the costs of re-examination due to any “failure or negligence” would have to be borne by the student, and progress reports would be required.
However, in an article in the Sunday Gleaner of September 20, 2015, the Permanemt Secretary of the Ministry of Education is quoted as saying that the reason for the change is that the graduates have not been returning to give service to Jamaica on completion of their studies. This premise is unequivocally false as since 1995, there have been 57 UWI-SVM graduates registered to practice in Jamaica. Though some have left at some point to do further studies or take up employment elsewhere, some 41 are still resident in the island and working in both the public and private sectors. Four SVM graduates returned in 2015, six in 2014.
The JVMA is very concerned at this removal of the subsidy as it does not bode well for the future of the veterinary profession in Jamaica. Unlike our dental colleagues who have two local institutions accessible to prospective students, there is no institution offering a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programme in Jamaica. We understand the financial constraints faced by the Government, but believe the idea of dispensing with the funding of veterinary medical training is misplaced.
In this era of emerging and re-emerging disease threats, the need for increased food safety and security, and greater multi-disciplinary collaboration in managing human, animal and environmental health, we cannot afford for an already under-represented arm of the overall health sector to be further weakened in the long term.
The JVMA has been made to understand that the Ministry is considering what it can do for the six students, but the issue of on-going funding for veterinary students remains. The Association's letter has been received by the Ministry and a meeting has been arranged for September 30, 2015 to discuss the way forward. However, according to SVM student sources, the students currently "in limbo" will be de-registered on that very date.
The JVMA looks forward to the discussions with Ministry officials in a spirit of cooperation to resolve this issue for the benefit of the current cohort of students and to safeguard the future of the profession in Jamaica.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Julie-Anne Small
"WE ARE HERE!" A group UWI-SVM Graduates in Jamaica pose after the September 20th General Meeting of the JVMA.
Back Row L-R: Drs. Denise Cole, Kareen Robinson, Ryan Chanona, Kristin Moses, Roberta Harris, Stephen Bryan, Megan Ritchie, Audrie McNab, Linton Watt. Front Row L-R: Drs. Jody Ann Clarke, Sasha Halsall, Terrina Jones, Kathryn Condappa, Kevin Walker (JVMA President), Stacey Ann Jackson, Farrah Bailey, April Miller, Julie-Anne Small (JVMA Assistant Secretary)
Vets get update on Praedial Larceny
Police Deputy Superintendent Kevin Francis of the Praedial Larceny Unit addresses veterinarians at the September 20th General Meeting of the JVMA.
Members of the JVMA were treated to a lively and highly enlightening discussion on the problem of larceny of agricultural produce and livestock led by Deputy Superintendent Kevin Francis who leads the Praedial Larceny unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Aspects of the laws as they relate to crops and various types of livestock were covered with the underlying theme being that praedial larceny is everone's problem as it repercussions go far beyond the effects on the farmers who fall victim to the crime. The responsibilities of farmers and purchasers of crops and animal, including transportation were discussed, along with the actions that can be taken by the police and what is being done. DSP Francis emphasized that the problem was not a simple one and was an organized criminal activity.
One of the members present provided a series of horrific photgraphs of a larceny attack on a farm which left several cattle gravely wounded.
Also on the list of other matters discussed was the issue of the Government's withdrawal of the 85% subsidy on the tuition fees for new and future Jamaican veterinary students at the University of the West Indies School of Veterinry Medicine in Trinidad.
The next JVMA General Meeting will take place in early December.
Dominica recovering from Tropical Storm Erica - Animal population hit hard
Tropical Storm Erica hit Dominica on the night of August 26 - 27, 2015 dumping torrents of rain which generated severe flooding, death and destruction, particularly in the southern part of the island. According to Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Reginald Thomas, in addition to the cost in human lives and infrastructure, there were heavy losses in the livestock sector. This was compounded by evacuated areas - in which animals had to be left behind - being inaccesible in the storm's aftermath.
In the recovery process, assistance has been sought from international animal welfare organizations. The Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) has been in contact with Dr. Thomas with regards to assisting with assessing needs and coordinating assistance.
For more on the situation in Dominica, please clickHERE for coverage on the CaribVet website.
Farewell Dr. George Hylton
Dr. George Hylton
Dr. George Hylton, a former Director of Veterinary Services, died on Saturday September 5, 2015.
Dr. Hylton began his career in health as an Inspector in the Public Health Department of the Ministry of Health. His long veterinary career began with his veterinary studies at Tuskegee in the 1950’s, graduating in 1960. After 2 years working in the USA with the Federal Government he returned to Jamaica in 1962. He became a veterinary officer with the Veterinary Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, starting as a Parish Veterinary Officer. He went on to earn his Masters in Veterinary Microbiology from the University of Michigan in 1973, and subsequently became head of the Linton McDonnough Veterinary Laboratory at the Veterinary Division. He later rose to the post of Deputy Director of Veterinary Services, becoming Director in the early 1980’s.
He always kept his hand in clinical practice and established Mannings Hill Veterinary Clinic, which became his full-time occupation when he retired from the Veterinary Services Division in the late 1980’s, which he operated right through into the early 2000’s.
He always maintained his involvement with the JVMA and even when he could no longer attend meetings, always wanted to know what was happening with the profession.
Both he and his wife Joyce have been ailing for some time, and he has now passed on.
As we face the many issues challenging our profession in 2015, let all veterinarians pause and remember the foundation built by George Hylton and those of his generation and re-commit ourselves to ensuring that, through us, their legacy will live on.
Rest in Peace Dr. George Arthur Hylton.
Caribbean One Health Newsletter
Click on the Logo to the right.
DISEASE OF THE WEEK
NEUROLOGICAL INFECTIONS IN HORSES
There are five diseases that top the list of infectious neurological conditions that affect horses in the western hemisphere:
Eastern Equine Encephalomylelitis (EEE)
Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (WEE)
Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis (VEE)
West Nile Virus Encephalomyelitis (WNV)
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM)
The first four are caused by viruses – arboviruses of the family Togaviridae in the case of EEE, WEE and VEE, and a Flavivirus in the case of WNV. All are primarily transmitted by mosquitoes and have zoonotic potential with significant numbers of human WNV cases occurring annually in the United States. A case of EEE was recently confirmed in a horse in New Jersey in the United States.
EPM is caused by the protozoan parasite Sarcocystis neurona, transmitted by ingestion of infectious sporocysts in contaminated feed or water. The organism may be carried by a number of hosts, including opossums, raccoons and cats, which shed sporocysts in the faeces. Horses are aberrant hosts and do not shed organisms, so infected horses are not contagious.
The viral infections are characterized by fever in some cases, altered mental state, visual impairment, head pressing, aimless wandering, circling, swallowing difficulty, incoordination in movement (ataxia), weakness, paralysis which can progress further to seizures and death.
EPM infections can affect any area of the central nervous system, so signs may vary a great deal. Spinal cord infections are more common than brain infections. With spinal cord infections there may be asymmetric neurologic deficits in one or more limbs with accompanied muscle atrophy. There may be localized sweating. Brain infections may result in altered mental state, paralysis of various cranial nerves, head tilt and loss of balance, seizures, abnormal behavior, all of which can progress to recumbency and death if untreated. Even with treatment, there may be permanent neurological damage.
Diagnosis of these nervous system infections may be accomplished by various tests on blood or cerebrospinal fluid. Post mortem diagnostics include histopathology of lesions in the brain or spinal cord.
Treatment of the viral infections is purely supportive as there are no effective anti-viral drugs for these viruses. Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce fever and inflammation, intravenous fluids and, if needed, anti-convulsants may be used. Mortality will vary, but tens to be highest with EEE.
EPM may be treated using coccidiostat drugs such as sulfadiazine or sulfamethoxazole (with or without trimethoprim) in combination with pyrimethamine. Diclazuril or ponazuril may also be used. Recovery is dependent of the severity of the infection and early initiation of treatment. Relapses may occur.
Prevention of the viral encephalitides is by vaccination. Multivalent vaccines for the three EE’s are available as is one for WNV. Horses in endemic areas should be on a vaccination program. Vector control measures are helpful.
EPM prevention includes attention to feed and water safety, reducing the possibility of contamination by cats or other carrier species.
An outbreak of EEE, affecting both horses and humans, occurred in Jamaica in the early 1960’s in the parish of St. Thomas, but was controlled and eliminated by prompt action by the Veterinary Division, with the notable involvement of the late Dr. K. D. Urquhart, then Parish Veterinary Officer. There have been no cases of EEE, WEE or VEE detected in Jamaica since. There have been no cases of West Nile Virus detected in horses or humans in Jamaica either. The presence of EPM remains unconfirmed.
Dogs awaiting surgery at a spay-neuter clinic held by the JSPCA and the International Spay-Neuter Network.
The Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association views with great concern the problems facing the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) with regards to its location.
The difficulties encountered by the JSPCA in finding a suitable location for their animal shelter in the environs of Kingston are not new. Since its founding in 1903, JSPCA has been the champion of the rights and welfare of animals of all types and has been based at several locations beginning with King Street (1938 - 1943), Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11 (1943 – 1999, which was closed because of both funding and safety issues), 113 Constant Spring Road (1978-1991) and 10 Winchester Road (1991 – present). Where it can go now, to provide shelter and care to all animals in need is the question at hand.
Although many in Jamaica think of the JSPCA solely as a veterinary clinic for those in the low income bracket, the Society operates a shelter for stray and abandoned animals, performs low cost spay-neuter for dogs and cats and has been pivotal in dealing with domestic animal welfare issues on farms and with horses around the island. Rescue and rehabilitation services for our wildlife, from crocodiles to birds and marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, public education on animal welfare, responses in disaster situations – even internationally (e.g. in the earthquake in Haiti) are all part of its mandate. These animal welfare functions must continue to be supported by public and private contributions.
For the veterinary profession, the JSPCA has been an important source of employment and clinical experience for many newly-graduated veterinarians and those who aspire to be veterinarians as well. All veterinarians employed there are members of our Association.
Though the JSPCA operates one of several veterinary facilities in Jamaica, its charitable animal welfare mandate is what makes its continued accessibility in the Corporate Area important. The JVMA recognizes this important role of the JSPCA and urges all persons, with the capability to assist, to help identify a suitable location in the Kingston metropolitan area for a shelter for the Society to house the small and large animals that need a home. We also urge all who can help with adoption or re-homing of sheltered animals to do what they can and to support on-going spay-neuter campaigns to control the growth of our stray dog and cat populations.
Second Module of Caribbean One Health Leadership Series in Jamaica - June 23 -26, 2015
The seond module of the One Health, One Caribbean One Love (OHOCOL) Leadership Series took place at the Cardiff Hotel in Runaway Bay, St. Ann from June 23 - 26, 2015. The first took place in Tobago in November of last year. The Leadership Series is part of the EU/ACP-funded Caribbean One Health project and is designed to create a network of One Health Leaders drawn mainly from the human health, animal health and environmental professional sectors in order to facilitate an integrated approach to health issues, food safety and security, and social and environmental well-being. Each particpating country's team of Leaders will be expected to implement a small scale One Health project in their country during the four-module programme.
The opening ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 23, and featured Mr. Dermon Spence, Chief Technical Director of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries bringing greetings and Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, Deputy Principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona, giving the feature address. Recording artiste Roshaun "Bay-C" Clarke of the group T.O.K., Celebrity Patron of the One Health Jamaica (OHJ) team, was the featured performer. Dr. Paul Cadogan, OHJ team member, performed and original One Health song called "The Answer" Maroons from the community of Scotts Hall, St. Mary, the location of OHJ's local One Health project, opened and closed the ceremony with the blowing of the Abeng, traditional drumming, song and dance.
The theme of Module 2 was "Interconnectivity for food safety and security". Apart from theme related content, the module included leadership training, such as the use of interest-based negotiations and project management. Field trips looked at the state of fisheries and fish farming, and compared traditional crop farming to the organic methodology.
Technical, theme-related sessions on Day 2 were open to invited guests from the human health, veterinary and environmental sectors. It was well attended.
The third module of the One Health Leadership Series will take place in Guyana in December 2015.
One Health Jamaica team members are Environmental Scientist Dr. Chandra Degia, Public Health Inspector Ms. Dahlia Plunkett and Veterinarians Dr. Rayon Gregory and Dr. Paul Cadogan.
Some of the Veterinarians attending Day 2 of the Module: Back row L-R: Drs. Rayon Gregory, Kevin Walker, Wintorph Marsden, Paul Cadogan, Ian Anderson, Ryan Chanona. Front row L-R: Drs. Sarah Eytle, Audrie McNab, Ikolyn Ricketts, Suzan Miguel, Gillian Ellis.
University of Florida ONE HEALTH Newsletter: CLICK HERE (Vol. 8: Issue 2)
WORLD VETERINARY DAY 2015
World Veterinary Day 2015 was observed worldwide on Saturday, April 25, 2015 under the theme: “Vector-borne Diseases with Zoonotic Potential”. World Veterinary Day is an annual event scheduled on the last Saturday in April by the World Veterinary Association (WVA).
Vector-borne diseases are those that are transmitted between their human or animal hosts by another living organism, usually an arthropod such as a mosquito, fly, flea or tick. The most striking example of such a disease in Jamaica at this time is Chikungunya, transmitted by Aedes aegypti and albopictus mosquitoes.
Many vector-borne diseases around the world are zoonotic, meaning they infect both animals and humans. Some can be very debilitating or even deadly. The JVMA's World Veterinary Day Gleaner Supplement, which will seek to educate the public on the vector-borne zoonotic diseases that occur locally and around the world, was published on Sunday, April 26th, 2015.
We wish to thank all our advertisers for their support, all our article and message writers and photographers for their contributions!
CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR WORLD VETERINARY DAY 2015 PAGE AND READ THE ARTICLES IN THE SUPPLEMENT.
The National Animal Identification & Traceability System
Dr. Ikolyn Ricketts of the VSD discusses the NAITS with veterinarians at the meeting hosted by the Veterinary Services Division
December 14, 2014
The Veterinary Services Division (VSD) will be undertaking a major national project with the implementation of the National Animal Identification and Traceability System (NAITS) with the ultimate goal of establishing a system to identify and trace the origins of all food-producing animals in Jamaica. The programme and its associated policies and protocols were outlined to veterinarians by NAITS Team Leader Dr. Ikolyn Ricketts at a meeting hosted by the VSD at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Sunday December 14, 2014.
NAITS will be first implemented for the island's cattle population and will involve the use of coded ear tags with individual animal passports which will stay with an animal for its lifetime. The tags are specialized to allow the collection of tissue samples when they are inserted, allowing for the development of a DNA database of the population as part of the overall computerized national records. The system is designed to allow for expansion of its procedures and protocols in the future, based on needs.
VSD personnel, supported by the field staff of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will be involved in the tagging process anfd farmer mobilization. A mobile squeeze will be used for the restraint of fractious animals. Tagging will be carried out on a parish by parish basis until the entire island is covered.
All farmers, regardless of number of animals owned, will be required to participate under the new Regulations being implemented under the Animal (Diseases & Importation) Act. Other stakeholders and participants will be the operators of abattoirs/slaughterhouses, livestock markets and showgrounds, public health inspectors and the police. Veterinarians and Public Health Inspectors will be involved in the certification of the death of an animal on farm or at slaughter respectively.
There will be no cost to the farmer in the first phase of the programme, but eventually, by year 3 or 4, it is envisaged that the farmer will bear the cost of the tagging.
NAITS is a necessary step to bring Jamaica in line with international best practice standards for traceability of food products from the farm to the fork. Once tagging is complete, an additional spin-off will be some level of protection from praedial larceny by making it much more difficult for stolen animals to be used for meat, since such animals cannot enter the slaughter and meat inspection process without the necessary documentation. The DNA samples collected during tagging may also aid in this.
Dr. Ricketts' presentation sparked lively discussion among the JVMA members present. Mrs. Claudette Phipps, though recently retired from her position at the VSD, was present and outlined the communications activities that will be utilized the get the NAITS message out to the public at large.
TRIBUTE TO A DOG
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near to his master's side.
He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world . He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he was a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains.
When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey thru the heavens.
GEORGE VEST, 1870
POSITION PAPER ON ANIMAL WELFARE - CLICK ON LOGO ABOVE
WEEKLY DISEASE REPORT. Please click on the logo above to check on important infectious diseases occurring around the world
POSITION PAPER ON ONE HEALTH - CLICK ON LOGO ABOVE
Writer's Credit:Unless otherwise stated, all articles on this page are written by Dr. Paul Cadogan.
For More News, click on "News & Events" in the Menu at the top
We want this web site to be one that will make all Jamaican veterinarians proud. It's still a work in progress. If you have any advice or you want to assist us in any way please email the Secretary of the Association. Click here to send us your advice and/or comments.