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.


SFVMA News — Spring 2018

Spring Meeting Sponsor

Greetings and Happy New Year from the SFVMA!

It’s dues time again! We are a little behind this year due to a change in many board members (please bear with us)!

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 this website.

Membership Application Form (online via PayPal)

Dues are $230 per year (for 4 quarterly meetings) per member. 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 ($75 per meeting). 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 the Cliff House on March 15th for the first meeting of 2018!


Amy Lightstone BVSc
SFVMA Secretary

Keely Commins DVM
SFVMA Treasurer

ALERT: Canine Influenza Outbreak

UPDATE — February 24, 2018: Unfortunately, we have had several additional influenza cases reported in the last couple days. Many were boarded at Pet Camp, but not all.

Sandy Hazanow has organized a Slack group for vets to add and follow new cases. She can be emailed at doggledoc@yahoo.com for an invitation to join the group.

Please join to keep up on the latest about the influenza outbreak

UPDATE — February 19, 2018: The SFVMA now has reports of an additional three cases of influenza in San Francisco. All three dogs were boarded at Pet Camp between 2/4/18 and 2/12/18. Please let us know if new cases are identified.

UPDATE — February 9, 2018: The SFVMA now has reports of two confirmed cases of canine influenza in San Francisco. Both dogs were boarded in facilities in the South Bay and are being quarantined at home. We will continue to update this page as we receive reports.

There is currently an outbreak of canine influenza going on in the South Bay. We do not yet have any cases to report to the Veterinary Medical Association in San Francisco. The following information has been provided by Dr. Valerie Brons:

In the South Bay over 50 coughing dogs have been seen at two emergency clinics in the past week; so far at least three of their patients have tested positive for canine influenza H3N2.

A canine respiratory panel (that specifically tests for H3N8 and H3N2) is recommended if a dog is coughing and/or has a fever. There can be some false negatives on this test.

Sick DogIt is recommended to vaccinate unaffected dogs who will be exposed to other dogs (boarding, shows, dog park, grooming, or if they have been exposed to any dog that is coughing etc.) with the new H3N2/H3N8 influenza vaccine. This is a series of 2 vaccines given 3 weeks apart. If the dog is already coughing, it is too late for the vaccine to be effective.

Influenza-infected dogs are thought to have immunity for 2 years once they have recovered.

For any affected dogs treatment is symptomatic since this is a viral infection, however bacterial co-infection and pneumonia is possible and bloodwork and x-rays are recommended in addition to the respiratory panel. An antibiotic may or may not be recommended on a case by case basis.

Testing is available through multiple laboratories and can take 3-14 days for results depending on the specific test and lab.

The good news is, so far, treated cases have not been fatal, and overall this virus has high morbidity low mortality.

Updated: February 24, 2018

SFVMA News — Winter 2017

support the community… join the SFVMA board!

Another way to continue to support the community is to join the SFVMA board! Please email me at sfvmapresident@gmail.com if you are interested in running for treasurer, secretary, or president. We will be voting at the November meeting. If you are unable to attend the meeting please let me know and we can still put in your nomination. Being part of the board only requires you to attend 4 board meetings a year. When all positions are filled this is a minimal commitment that really helps keep everything running smoothly. There is also the opportunity to join committees — these only require a commitment when certain issues arise — i.e. a complaint to the board, a natural disaster requiring fundraising/support organization/etc. Please email me if you are interested in joining a committee.

Winter Meeting Sponsor

Open Seat on the Animal Control and Welfare Commission

The Commission of Animal Control & Welfare is made up of seven voting commissioners and four non-voting commission members; four seats on the Commission are currently coming to term.

In addition a fifth seat, reserved for a licensed veterinarian practicing in San Francisco, is also vacant due to a resignation from the Commission. If you are interested in serving on the Commission of Animal Control and Welfare, you can download an application and receive further information here.

Learn more about The Commission of Animal Control & Welfare on their website.

SFVMA News — Fall 2017

President’s Message

As the seasons change so do things in the SFVMA. I am sad to announce that Dr. Katie Kennedy will be leaving the Bay Area to pursue an amazing opportunity with the Animal Medical Center in NYC. Our loss is definitely their gain and we wish her the best in her new endeavors! This means that we have an opening for a new SFVMA secretary! All board positions are for a year, however most people remain part of the board for more than one year. Joining the SFVMA board is a great opportunity to become a more influential part of the local veterinary community. We have meetings once a quarter to discuss CE, local events, scholarships, and any community concerns. If you are interested please e-mail me at sfvmapresident@gmail.com

Canine Influenza

Please be aware that cases of canine influenza (H3N2) have recently been confirmed in Maricopa County (Phoenix, AZ) and Los Angeles, with suspected cases in Montana and Central Florida. Please be alert for possible cases in the Bay Area and let us know as we will be tracking possible cases. Cases present with respiratory signs similar to Kennel cough, including rhinitis, tracheitis, bronchitis and bronchiolitis, and can predispose to secondary bacterial infection. For more information on transmission, clinical signs, and diagnosis, please review the AVMA website at //www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx.

Fall Meeting Sponsor

Royal Canin Ad

SFVMA News — Spring 2017

Leptospirosis in Bay Area

There has been an apparent increase in the incidence of leptospirosis across the country, including within San Francisco. Please be keep this in mind when presented with dogs showing possible clinical signs (fever, lethargy, gastrointestinal upset, renal failure with or without liver failure). Consider discussions about preventative measures with at-risk pets, and remember that this is a zoonotic disease. If you have a suspected or confirmed case, please email Katie Kennedy at sfvmasecretary@gmail.com; SFVMA will be tracking the incidence and report back.

2017 SFVMA Membership

Now that we are solidly into 2017, don’t forget to pay your SFVMA membership dues. Annual membership dues are unchanged at $230/doctor and continue to include dinner at all 4 CE meetings at the Cliff House and a 25% discount for newsletter advertisements. Please complete the Membership Application on the website; payment can be submitted by credit card via PayPal or by check. Any questions or concerns can be directed to Katie Kennedy at sfvmasecretary@gmail.com.

< Page 2 of 2