SFVMA News — Winter 2021

Latest Newsletter


Dear Colleagues,

I have to admit that over the last year and half, like many others, I have not always been at my best. Between the stress of work, Covid, issues with family, friends, health, pets, it has been challenging for everyone. Something that I have been always grateful for is the camaraderie found in all of the different veterinary clinics that I work at. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, assistants, CSRs, managers, and kennel techs are some of the kindest, most dedicated and hard-working people that I have had the good fortune to come across. It takes a special kind of person to continue to care for animals, their people, and coworkers during such stressful times with kindness and composure.

No veterinarian could do this job without the support of their hardworking teams. Seriously, to every single person who has continued to engage in animal restraint Twister, pin the needle in the bladder, don’t get bit by the angry chihuahua, dodge the anal gland expression, and other intrahospital games, thank you. To every veterinarian who has taken the time to help review labs, radiographs, cytology, weird cases, and helped with call backs and surgeries, thank you. To every staff member who has continue to help clients and pets despite being yelled at or treated with disrespect, thank you. …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Winter 2021 SFVMA Newsletter

Canine Influenza H3N2 Warning

Please be aware that Los Angeles county is currently experiencing an outbreak of Canine Influenza. Please let clients know if they plan on boarding their pets over the holidays that they may want to ensure their dogs are up to date on vaccinations and consider dogs with upper respiratory signs and fevers as potentially infected with Canine Influenza.


  • Over 800 reported confirmed and suspected cases and 7 reported deaths in LA County.
  • 2 animal shelters affected.
  • Spreading rapidly at pet boarding and daycare facilities located throughout the county.
  • Some pets have been infected at dog parks, while on walks, and where they come near other dogs.
  • Cases of CIV H3N2 are being reported in the surrounding counties as well.



New CVMA Delegate Needed!

We need a new CVMA Delegate and alternative
to represent San Francisco veterinarians!

Please reach out to
Tiffany Hahn at sfvmasecretary@gmail.com
if you are interested in helping represent out community!

SFVMA News — Fall 2021

Latest Newsletter


Dear Colleagues,

During my internship a hurricane made landfall in Virginia and knocked out power to the majority of Richmond for nearly 1 week. The emergency and specialty hospital I worked at was the only veterinary clinic that continued to operate in the city thanks to 3 generators on the roof. We saw pretty much every dog and cat that needed veterinary care in the entire city for a week. It may not sound like a long time, but when every cage, run, and stacked donated kennel lining 2 entire floors is full, it felt like an eternity. We had every available staff member come in as much as possible, we napped in the clinic or briefly at home in between working horribly long shifts. We ran out of supplies, improvised and borrowed. This was my introduction to disaster veterinary medicine. …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Fall 2021 SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA News — Summer 2021

Latest Newsletter


Dear Colleagues,

I was walking around my neighborhood this past weekend thinking about just how lucky we are in San Francisco. Everyone was wearing a mask shopping at the outdoor farmer’s market while people try to figure out the sudden CDC announcement that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks. I have now gone for a few walks in the Presidio and Golden Gate Park mask free, but it has really become a habit to put one on every time I walk out of my apartment. It’s just something that most San Franciscans have done to protect each other and our communities, and that has certainly not been the case in many other places.

At the time of writing, 76% of San Franciscans over 16 years old have already had at least one vaccine, and we just started vaccinating 12-15 year-old kids as well. This is amazing and well above what many other places have accomplished thus far. I’m grateful to live in a place where so many people believe in science and have been so caring about trying to protect each other. …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Summer 2021 SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA News — Spring 2021

Latest Newsletter


Dear Colleagues,

Please join us for our first online continuing education opportunity of 2021. We are grateful to Boehringer-Ingelheim for sponsoring a 2 hour RACE approved online learning program on Feline Vaccinations by Dr. Alice Wolf on March 18, 2021. Meals will be delivered to your work or home. We hope you will join us!

We anticipate hosting our quarterly meetings online for now. We recently learned that we are one of only a few local VMAs in California who have continued to offer continuing education during the pandemic. We thank our wonderful sponsors for their support as we pivoted to online events. Hopefully we can gather together again soon. …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Spring 2021 SFVMA Newsletter

2021 Greetings from SFVMA

Greetings and Happy New Year from the SFVMA!

We hope that everyone is hanging in there and getting vaccinated with the start of 2021. It’s dues time again! 

Whether you are a potential new member or renewing your membership, please take a moment to be sure that your contact information is up-to-date with us (especially the email address to which the newsletter should be directed) by completing a membership application. The membership form may be submitted electronically on our website: www.sfvma.net/membership

Dues are $120 per year (for 4 quarterly meetings) per member for 2021. Dues payments may be made with either check, or by PayPal through the invoice forms available on the website. If payment is made for more than one application, please clearly indicate which individuals are included in the payment (this option is also available online, or a list of individuals to be covered may be emailed to the treasurer). Each member should complete an application regardless of payment method so that their contact information is updated. Payment is due by April 15th. After this date, payments will be on a “per meeting” basis. No exceptions! 

SFVMA members’ names will be listed on the website with hospital affiliation. Email addresses will be confidential and used only for the purposes of communicating with the membership regarding matters related to the organization.  

We look forward to “seeing” you at our online CEs! 


Tiffany Hahn, DVM
SFVMA Secretary


Keely Commins, DVM

SFVMA Treasurer


2021 Membership Information and Application Forms

SFVMA News — Winter 2020



Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to announce that we will be continuing to offer online continuing education in place of our quarterly meetings until that fine day we can all come together once again at the fabulous Cliff House. November 19th, Dechra will be sponsoring an online meeting with Dr. Julie Kluxdal speaking about veterinary dermatology. Links will be
added to the website and emailed to members prior to the meeting. We hope you all will join us.

As what feels like the longest year ever heads into holiday season, I hope that everyone is hanging in there. Between COVID-19, fires, elections, and social justice issues, this has been a year unlike any other for most of us. It seems almost everyone is struggling with some degree staffing issues amongst childcare, new babies, moves, and the confusion of veterinary professionals actually calling out sick. As veterinarians, most of us have rarely ever called out sick. …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Winter 2020 SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA News — Fall 2020




Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to offer a free virtual meeting on Thursday, September 17, 2020. Dr. Wailani Sung, MS, PhD, DVM, DACVB, of the San Francisco SPCA Behavior Speciality Service, will present “Emerging Behavior Issues During COVID”, hosted by Purina. There will be a fifteen minute question and answer session after her presentation. Connection details and instructions for the meeting will be posted to the Upcoming Meeting page, as well as emailed to members.

We are actively seeking a volunteer to join the SFVMA Executive Board as President. The Executive Board meets four times a year In addition to the quarterly SFVMA General meetings. The SFVMA President is responsible for presiding at all General meetings and Executive Board meetings, arranging speakers and sponsorship for quarterly General meetings, and writing a President’s Message for the quarterly SFVMA Newsletter. You will be joining a lively and experienced Executive Board who are dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine, including its relationship to public health and the biological sciences. …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Fall 2020 SFVMA Newsletter

ALERT for Rabbit Veterinarians

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) has finally arrived in Southern California and we can expect it to make its way north in the near future. I’d like to form a group to make a plan to address this disease. It is a deadly virus that is highly contagious to domestic rabbits but is also infecting native species of rabbits and hares. There have been outbreaks of the disease in several states including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. Washington state has already dealt with an outbreak, starting last year, and has done much of the work for us. (rabbit.org/rhdv/ for more info)

There is a vaccine available that must be imported from Europe. Please contact me if you see rabbits and are interested in working together to make a plan for recommendations for our clients and vaccine clinics. We are able to import the vaccine and share it amongst ourselves but must plan that in advance.

Email:  babybird@bayareabirdhospital.com
Phone:  (415) 566-4359

Leila Marcucci DVM,
Dip ABVP (Avian)
Bay Area Bird and Exotics Hospital

Updated: June 10, 2020

SFVMA News — Summer 2020

Latest SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA Newsletter — Summer 2020


Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for continuing to care for the animals and families of San Francisco though the middle of a pandemic. You have continued to adapt on a daily basis to the latest recommendations by government and veterinary organizations to help keep our workers and clients as safe as possible. You have continued to try your best to provide quality veterinary care through masks, telephones, and parking lots with clients experiencing a new level of stress and anxiety.

You have navigated trying to figure out telemedicine on the fly and continued to fight to help the veterinarians of this state loosen telemedicine restrictions so that we can help vulnerable pet owners at home. It has been a trying time to say the least, but I am extremely impressed by how adaptable and committed the veterinarians and veterinary staff members of this city have been and will continue to be. …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Summer 2020 SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA News — Spring 2020

Latest SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA Newsletter — Spring 2020


Part of the preparation for these quarterly SFVMA meetings is reaching out to the sponsors to confirm their support and attendance. One of those sponsors who has been incredibly gracious with her time and financial support is Sharon Burns from Nationwide. Thank you to Sharon and please say hello to her at the meeting. That got me to thinking how little I knew about the pet insurance industry and how rapidly it has grown. More importantly, the likelihood is that it will grow significantly over the next few years.

Over the last five years, increasing consumer awareness and the diversity of products has benefited the Pet Insurance sector. The latest available statistics tell us that 30% of pets in Sweden and 23% of pets in the United Kingdom have health insurance. In the United States it is between 1% and 2% and yet this figures continues to increase and the prediction is for continued industry growth. Why is there this massive difference in the percentage of insured animals when comparing US to Sweden and UK? …

Continue reading this article and more in the
Spring 2020 SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA News — Winter 2019

Winter Meeting Sponsor




We have spoken before of the changes to veterinary medicine including global corporatization, the sophistication of care, increasing costs and the impact of pet insurance. Some of us may benefit from these changes. In fact, it is likely that if you have sold a practice recently that you did benefit financially. However, we have also spoken of the increasing costs of veterinary education while the average remuneration for the veterinarian has remained somewhat static over the last 10 to 15 years. The comparatively poor remuneration may arguably be the reason that we seem to be one of the least ethnically diverse professions and with a significant reduction in the number of males applying for veterinary medicine. However, there is a signification problem looming that is in dire need to be addressed and that is the conditions and salaries of our veterinary technicians and support staff.…

Continue reading this article and more in the
Winter 2019 SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA News — Fall 2019

Fall Meeting Sponsor

Aratana Ad



A study presented at the 2019 convention for American Psychologist Association finds that veterinarians and others who work with animals on a daily basis deal with stressful and emotional events that put them at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts.

Are veterinarians and other animal carers more prone to depression and anxiety? Apparently yes. In a study using data from 1979 to 2015 it was found that veterinarians are at particularly high risk of suicide with veterinarians taking their own lives at two to 3.5 times more often than the general population. Several studies have identified a link between suicide and occupation including the healthcare professions and our own profession. The rate of suicide in the veterinary profession has been pegged as close to twice that of the dental profession, more than twice that of the medical profession, and 4 times the rate in the general population. But apparently, it is not just veterinarians.…

Continue reading this article and more in the
Fall 2019 SFVMA Newsletter

SFVMA News — Summer 2019

Summer Meeting Co-Sponsors

FeLV/FIV testing at SF ACC & SF SPCA

San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC) and the San Francisco SPCA (SF SPCA) recently changed their protocols regarding retroviral testing. The following describes the issues considered in the decision for the change.

Best practices for viral testing cats in shelters has been evolving over time to reflect the practicality of testing given the inherent problems with the screening test in obtaining meaningful results. Historically, all kittens and cats in our care were tested for FeLV/FIV using an in-house ELISA test; however, research has shown that less than 2.5% of the North American feline population test positive for either FeLV or FIV. This low seroprevalence also affects the positive predictive value of our retroviral tests (i.e. if the prevalence of a disease is low, then the accuracy of the test decreases and more false-positive results may occur).…

Continue reading this article and more in the Summer 2019 SFVMA Newsletter (PDF)

SFVMA News — Spring 2019

Spring Meeting Sponsor

Royal Canin


What is Happening to Veterinary Medicine?

I admit that the question is a little ambiguous. It can be answered in many ways. We could discuss the dramatic changes that have occurred to our profession over the last 30 or 40 years. We could discuss whether those changes have uniformly benefitted our patient and us as professionals. We could also discuss where veterinary medicine may be headed in the future.

Many of us we could debate pros and cons of the changes. There have been advances in technology and medical care. The business of veterinary science has dramatically changed with supply companies, insurance, ownership and expected revenue. The cost of veterinary medicine has increased dramatically to enable to supply the services
our clients demand. Are we still considered a caring profession? What is the effect of these changes on the individual as a professional?

Where is veterinary medicine going now? Are we aware of the changes? Are we prepared and is there a place for all of us? So many questions! I understand that millennials may not care where we came from, but the old adage remains as true today as it was when it was first coined and that is “If you want to know where you are going then look where you have been.” …

Continue reading this article and more in the Spring 2019 SFVMA Newsletter (PDF)

SFVMA News — Winter 2018

Winter Meeting Sponsor


I was trying to do some work at home but was constantly being interrupted by Kui, my 5 year old dachshund cross who was pawing at me to be picked up. Or at least that is what I thought. He seemed anxious to get down whenever I picked him up. After several times doing this, he seemed to give up and then proceeded to go over to his water bowl and nudged that around on the floor and then proceeded to scratch at the floor. I finally cottoned on that the water bowl was empty and as soon as I filled it he immediately drank and went back to the couch for a nap, seemingly satisfied that he had been able to communicate with his not so smart human companion.

I thought how smart he is. I compared this to his house mate, Billy who is a beaglelab cross who probably would have died of thirst had I not filled the bowl. This was also the dog that when he first heard a siren and began to bay for the first time could not work out where the sound was coming from: not the siren but his own bay. Every
time he made the noise, he ran around furiously appearing as if he was looking for the dog that made it. So it is apparent that dogs differ in their innate intelligence. Kui may have a future in astrophysics but Billy may be my stay-at-home freeloader for life.

So it did make me think. HOW SMART ARE DOGS?

Continue reading this article and more in the Winter 2018 SFVMA Newsletter (PDF)

SFVMA News — Fall 2018

Fall Meeting Sponsor

Aratana Ad


Dr. Christina LaCerda

For those who may not know, Dr. Christina LaCerda passed away early in the morning of Saturday August 18, surrounded by her family. Christina has been a part of the SF SPCA family since 2006. She has cared for animals and people within the shelter, both hospitals and through prevention programs. Because she was so respected and trusted by staff across the organization, she was selected to facilitate BLISS training and to participate in our Hospital Improvement Team. She was genuinely adored by her clients and co-workers. In February 2017, Christina began her medical leave and many staff members pitched in to support their colleague and friend. Hundreds of hours of PTO were donated, dozens of meals were delivered and countless visits were made to check in with Christina and her husband, Scott, and their daughter, Wallis.

Christina was born and raised in Ohio, and attended Oberlin College where she received her BA in Science. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. After a brief stay in the Pacific Northwest, she settled in the Bay Area and joined the SF SPCA team.

Dr. Christina LaCerdaChristina was down-to-earth and had a witty sense of humor. She had an un-erring knowledge of what was right and saw the positive attributes in all people. Some might say it was her Mid-Western sensibility, but mainly she had an inherent respect for others and a commitment to her beliefs. She was a compassionate and outstanding veterinarian and human, and she really adored animals. One of the first things she did after finding out she was ill, was to adopt two pygmy goats, a species she had recently fallen in love with. They joined her dog, Tuesday, as part of the family. Most important of all, Christina loved her husband and daughter.

Thank you to the many team members who supported Christina and her family during the difficult time of her illness by donating hundreds of hours of sick time, dropping off meals, and sending messages of love.

Read More News and Info in the Fall 2018 SFVMA Newsletter (PDF)

SFVMA News — Summer 2018

Summer Meeting Sponsor

Aratana Ad

Latest News from SFAfA

SFAFA has had a very successful year helping save 75 pets and distributing over $45,000 through our Grants-in-Aid program.


May 31: Last day to submit your paperwork if you wish to participate in the Grant-in-Aid program for FYE 2019 (July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019). If you miss the deadline to send in your paperwork and wish to participate please immediately contact Dr. Anne Marie Benfatto (AnneMarie@sfaidforanimals.org).

June 15, 2018: Last day to submit paperwork for any FY18 Grant-in-Aid funding that you awarded to a client. Any unused Grant-in-Aid funds will be rolled over to the Grant-in-Aid program for FYE19.

July 1, 2018: Welcome letters will be sent out announcing grant amounts for the FYE19 Grant-in-Aid program.

The Ingrid Tauber Fund for Animals (TFA) will be available in FYE19: For those special cases where the anticipated costs are high and the client is in need of financial assistance please remember the TFA program. The animal must have an urgent need for veterinary care, a reasonably good prognosis and the client must have exhausted all other financial options. Funding of up to $5,000 per case will be considered provided that you make a matching donation of in-kind services or discounts equivalent to 25% of the TFA funding. More information is available on the “For Providers” page at sfafa.org or by emailing requests@sfafa.org.

2018 San Francisco Pride Parade Events

SAVE THE DATE! March with us on June 24 in San Francisco

San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration

Be a part of the annual pride parade and march with a group of your veterinary colleagues friends, and animal companions.

San Francisco Pride is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQIA parades in the world. Contingents march through the heart of the city, along Market Street, with more than 100,000 spectators. Over 270 contingents participated in our 2017 parade, making it one of the largest in the history of our event.

On Sunday, June 24 the Pride Veterinary Medical Community (formerly the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association) and VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists are partnering in 2018 to invite all local San Francisco Bay Area veterinary community members to march together and help celebrate our support of LGBTQ+ diversity, inclusion and wellness. This year’s theme is Generations of Strength.

RSVP for Veterinary Community Pride Parade

Pride VMC Welcomes PacVet

San Francisco   •   June 28   •   6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Pride Veterinary Medical Community networking event

LookOut bar at 3600 16th Street at Market in the Castro. Join your veterinary colleagues and friends to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride and welcome you to San Francisco and Pacific Veterinary Conference. Spread the invitation. (First drink is complementary.)

Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim

Only a trolley ride down Market Street from the Pacific Veterinary Conference in the heart of the Castro.


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