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Special Report from the 39th Swine Veterinarians Meeting

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) held its 39th annual meeting in San Diego, CA, in early March. Following are some of the activities which took place

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) held its 39th annual meeting in San Diego, CA, in early March. Following are some of the activities which took place.

Research Funding Raises Concerns
The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) is calling on the federal government to reevaluate its funding allocations for research projects to address swine diseases.

In a statement, the AASV indicated that federal funding for basic and applied research for swine diseases is inadequate to address foreign, emerging and reemerging diseases to protect the industry and promote domestic and international markets.

“Over the last few years, the budgets associated with programs at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Agriculture Research Service and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service have all either declined or been held basically flat at existing levels.

“This has frequently necessitated a reduction in the capability to conduct needed research, the loss of scientific resources, or the inability to adequately fund research facilities,” the AASV said in a March 19 news release.

The AASV said it would work with the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council to obtain an accounting of current federal research budgets and determine industry needs relative to swine disease research.

Officers Named
Kerry Keffaber, DVM, North Manchester, IN, was installed as the president of the AASV.

Keffaber succeeds Daryl Olsen, DVM, Audubon, IA, who now serves as immediate past president. Keffaber is a swine technical services consultant at Elanco Animal Health. Prior to joining Elanco, Kefabber was in private practice in Indiana for 21 years.

Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM, Ames, IA, becomes president-elect. Baker serves as a senior clinician in the Food Supply Veterinary Services Unit at Iowa State University.

The newly elected vice president is Paul Ruen, DVM, who practices at the Fairmont Veterinary Clinic in Fairmont, MN.

Awards Presented
The 2008 Heritage Award, which recognizes individuals for lifetime achievements in swine veterinary medicine, was presented to Roy Schultz, DVM, Avoca, IA.

Schultz has been a leader in swine medicine for nearly half a century. He was one of the charter members of the American Association of Swine Practitioners (now AASV) and is a past president of the AASV, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the U.S. Animal Health Association.

He was honored in 2007 as one of 10 Masters of the Pork Industry by National Hog Farmer magazine.

In 1998, Schultz turned over his veterinary practice to his son, Gary, and partner, Jim Hoffmann, and became a swine consultant serving U.S. and international clients.

Five AASV members were honored for their contributions to the association:

Jason Kelly, DVM, received the newly established Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year award. Kelly is a managing partner at Suidae Health and Production, a swine-exclusive practice of six veterinarians based in Algona, IA.

Robert Desrosiers, DVM, was honored as the Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year, an award also established this year. He is a technical services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. In 2006 and 2007, he was selected to serve on a task force charged with developing a five-year plan to improve the health of Quebec’s swine herds.

Sandy Amass, DVM, received the Meritorious Service Award. She is a professor at Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Greg Stevenson, DVM, was awarded the Howard Dunne Memorial Award. The swine diagnostician served as head of pathology at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University from 2002 until 2007, when he retired from the university to pursue a second career in Christian ministry with Collegiate Impact Ministeries.

Lisa Tokach, DVM, was named Swine Practitioner of the Year. Tokach works in a mixed-animal practice focusing primarily on swine at the Abilene Animal Hospital in Abilene, KS. She serves as personnel director at the clinic that employs six veterinarians and 10 other fulltime staffers. Since 1996, Tokach has served as president of the Kansas Swine Alliance, Inc., a management company that promotes interdependence among smaller Kansas producers. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Christa Irwin, DVM, Ames, IA, was selected the 2008 winner of the AASV Foundation’s Hogg Scholarship, named after the late Alex Hogg, DVM, who worked in a mixed-animal practice and at the University of Nebraska for many years. The $12,000 scholarship is presented annually to an AASV member who has been accepted into a qualified graduate program to further education after years as a swine practitioner.

Irwin is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University. She is pursuing a master’s degree in veterinary preventive medicine, focusing on epidemiology. She worked for six years as a staff veterinarian at Murphy-Brown, LLC, managing the farrow-to-feeder pig and multiplication operations in Missouri.

Boehringer Ingelheim Announces PRRS Research Award Recipients
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc (BIVI) has announced the recipients of its 2008 Advancement in PRRS Research Awards.

Each year BIVI awards $75,000 to support three separate studies by independent swine researchers and veterinary practitioners to investigate new ways to diagnose, control and eradicate this costly swine disease. This is the sixth year that BIVI has sponsored the PRRS research awards.

The 2008 recipients, announced at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) annual meeting, include:

Jim Lowe, DVM, Carthage Veterinary Service, Carthage, IL: Reduction in economic losses due to lateral infection with PRRS virus in growing pigs in swine-dense areas through infection with attenuated PRRS virus at placement.

Paul Yeske, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN: Does finishing barn ventilation type (curtain-sided vs. tunnel) result in a greater risk factor for naïve herds to break with PRRS virus in the finishing phase?

Scott Dee, DVM, University of Minnesota: An evaluation of PRRS virus aerosol biosecurity programs for warm weather.

New AASV President-Elect Kerry Keffaber, DVM, and PRRS Research Review Board member, says, “PRRS continues to be a very costly and frustrating disease for producers. Through sponsored research programs, we can find ways to improve current management programs and take the necessary steps toward eradicating this disease.”

Entry proposals for the 2009 Advancement in PRRS Research Awards are due Jan. 1, 2009. For more information, visit

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