March 2022 NewsBytes

Monthly e-news of the MDVMA

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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Cases

Found in Two Maryland Counties


Veterinarians: What You and Your Clients Need To Know About Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza


Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is a deadly disease of poultry. Recently, H5N1, a subtype of HPAI, was detected in wild birds and commercial and backyard poultry flocks in several U.S. States. With the increase of backyard producers and pet bird owners, the U.S. Department of Agriculture needs your help. As a companion animal veterinarian, you can help your clients protect their backyard flocks and pet birds by showing them how to recognize the signs of HPAI and urging them to report sick birds. Rapid and thorough reporting is critical to stop the spread of this disease.

What is HPAI?

Avian influenza is a respiratory disease of birds caused by influenza type A viruses. These viruses are common in wild birds in the United States and around the world. In most cases, they cause few or no signs of infection. However, some subtypes, like H5N1, can cause severe illness and death in poultry.

How does HPAI spread, and which bird species are most susceptible?

HPAI spreads quickly through direct, bird-to-bird contact. It can also be transmitted via contaminated surfaces (such as clothing, shoes, and vehicles). Wild birds can spread the virus to new areas through their feces.

Domestic poultry such as chickens and turkeys are most likely to experience severe disease and death from HPAI, with mortality rates often exceeding 90 percent. Birds of prey, ratites, and psittacines are also susceptible to HPAI infection.

What are the signs of HPAI? 

The most common signs of HPAI include sudden death, decreased food and water consumption, lethargy, respiratory distress, nasal discharge, purple discoloration or swelling around the legs and head, a drop in egg production, and diarrhea.

What can your clients do to keep their birds safe?  

There is no cure for HPAI. Good biosecurity is the key to keeping poultry safe. Urge your clients to:

  • Keep wild birds and rodents out of poultry houses and coops and away from backyard flocks and pet birds.
  • Secure feed bins and water and consider removing bird feeders to avoid attracting wild birds.
  • Keep visitors away from birds and avoid visiting other poultry farms or other people’s birds.
  • Wash hands and scrub boots before and after entering a poultry area. Wear disposable boot covers and coveralls, if possible. If you’ve been in areas frequented by waterfowl, change clothes and shoes before handling poultry.
  • Isolate new birds or those returning from shows for 30 days before introducing them to the flock.

Immediately report sick birds to your State Veterinarian or call USDA at 1-866-536-7593. 


For more information:

MD Department of Agriculture


Center for Disease Control and Prevention


MDVMA Summer Conference

Oceans of Opportunity


June 23-25, 2022 - Ocean City, MD


18 hours CE credit available, 5 tracks:

Small Animal
Large Animal
Veterinary Technology
Practice Management


Register Early and Save $$



At the Clarion Resort Fontainbleau Hotel by calling 1-800-638-2100


Be sure to mention Maryland Veterinary Medical Association to receive the discounted rate.

Discounted rooms are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis until May 20, 2022.


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Seeking Committee Volunteers

Get Involved!  Make a Difference!


The Board of Directors is welcoming new members to join one of the association's committees.

  • Membership Committee
  • College Committee
  • Legislative Committee
  • Continuing Education

Learn about MDVMA volunteer opportunities. 



March 31 - April 1, 2022

Mid-Atlantic Bovine Conference

Ramada Plaza

Hagerstown, MD

Registration is Open!

June 23-25, 2022

Oceans of Opportunity

MDVMA Annual Summer Conference

Ocean City, MD

Registration is Open!


Ensure the Future of Veterinary Medicine in Maryland


Annual Open House - March 19

Researcher highlights canine translational cancer research at National Academies workshop


April 12 - 13, 2022

Virginia Agriculture and National Resources Summit:

Farm, Forestry, Food, and Fiber of the Future

Event Details and Registration


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Upcoming Webinars in the Series

March 17

FREE for MDVMA Members



February 2022 New Members

Michelle Markward - Veterinarian

Tracey robinson - Student


MDVMA 2021-2022 Executive Officers

Dr. David Handel, President
Dr. Matthew Keats, President-Elect
Dr. Elizabeth Hepner, Vice President
Dr. Elizabeth Cottrell, Secretary/Treasurer
Dr. Shadawn Salmond-Jimenez, Immediate Past President
Dr. Andrew O'Carroll, AVMA Delegate
Dr. Jenny Krueger, AVMA Alt Delegate
Dr. Robert Silcox, Director at Large
Dr. Richard Street, III, Director at Large


Maryland Veterinary Medical Association

(410) 305-7083 |


Mailing Address:

8574 Paxton St.

Hummelstown, PA 17036