The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) held its 47th annual meeting in New Orleans from Feb. 27 to March 1. The meeting drew record attendance of 1,160 total attendees including 696 paid registrants (also a record), 278 international members (24 percent of the total attendees) and 138 students. The participants represented 31 countries including the United States. Total attendance included 243 allied industry representatives from 85 exhibitors. The students in attendance represented 25 veterinary schools.

The meeting participants attended numerous educational sessions, including 10 pre-conference workshops, two general sessions, three break-out sessions, research topics, industrial partner sessions, 15 student seminar presentations and an exhibit of 73 posters.

Dr. John Harding opened the Monday General Session with the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture. His presentation, entitled “Emergence of Brachyspira hampsonii in western Canada: A collaborative success,” described the multidisciplinary collaborative approach employed by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan when faced with the emergence of an enteric pathogen. One of the key takeaways from Dr. Harding’s talk is his commentary on the essential elements of collaboration. These elements are applicable to anyone working with groups of individuals with varying backgrounds. He concluded by encouraging the audience to “strive to be a pioneer; strive to make a lasting difference in your professional and personal lives.”

Dr. Peggy Anne Hawkins presented the Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture entitled “Whose shoulders are we standing on?” Her presentation explored the issues of collaboration within the profession of swine veterinary medicine given the diversity of individual members. She described the personality types and generational values that make up the membership of the AASV as a facet of our collaborative spirit.

The second half of the Monday morning session focused on a variety of topics including neonatal immunity, public perception of pork production, welfare audits and collaboration. Monday afternoon concurrent sessions allowed attendees the opportunity to delve deeper into the broad topics of enteric coronaviruses, respiratory diseases and antibiotic use. The Tuesday General Session addressed the issues associated with the introduction of transboundary and emerging swine diseases. The Howard Dunne and Alex Hogg Memorial Lectures were video recorded and have been posted in the video library on the AASV web site.

The AASV Awards Reception was held Monday night, followed by the AASV Foundation’s annual fund-raising auction. Dr. Tara Donovan, 2012 AASV President and chair of the 2016 Awards Selection Committee, presented the award recipients (see below). Student scholarships were also announced. For details, click here

In addition, 13 AASV committees met during the annual meeting. The 2016 officers were introduced: they are Drs. George Charbonneau President; Alex Ramirez, President-elect; Scanlon Daniels, Vice President; and Ron Brodersen, Past President. The board also welcomed incoming representatives: District 3, Dr. Monte Fuhrman and District 8, Dr. Greg Cline.

Swine Practitioner of the Year
Dr. Luc Dufresne was named 2016 Swine Practitioner of the Year, given to the swine practitioner who has demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of veterinary service to clients.

Dr. Dufresne obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Montreal in 1988. Following graduation, he accepted a position as Staff Veterinarian with Shur-Gain in St-Hughes, Quebec, Canada. In this position, his responsibilities included supervision of the health of the Swine Multiplication pyramid and commercial herd. In 1990, he transitioned into the role of Swine Consultant with Shur-Gain in Brossard, Quebec, Canada where he supervised the veterinary staff and was the health advisor for the company’s internal swine production unit as well as a customer network of 50,000 sows.

In 1997 Dr. Dufresne in 1997 became the Director of Health Services at Brown’s of Carolina. He supervised the swine health department and personnel for a 115,000 sow pyramid in North Carolina. Since leaving Brown’s in 2001, Dufresne served as a Technical Services Veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim and Pig Improvement Company before joining Seaboard Foods as the Director of Health Assurance in 2004.

Dr. Dufresne joined AASV in 1989. He received the Al Leman Science in Practice Award from the University of Minnesota in 2014. 

Howard Dunne Memorial Award
Dr. Scott Dee received the American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ 2016 Howard Dunne Memorial Award. The award recognizes an AASV member who has made important contributions and provided outstanding service to the association and the swine industry.

Dr. Dee gained exposure to the research opportunities in veterinary medicine working on the Mayo Clinic research farm. He received a master’s degree in veterinary microbiology in 1985 and his DVM in 1987, both from the University of Minnesota. Following graduation, Dee practiced for the next 12 years in a swine-specific practice in Morris, Minn. While in practice, he earned board certification in veterinary microbiology (1993) and obtained a PhD in veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota (1996).

Dr. Dee left practice in 1999 to join the swine medicine faculty as an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. While at the university, he conducted research in the areas of PRRSV transmission and biosecurity. He served as a Full Professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine from 2005 until he left the university in 2011 to accept his current position as the Director of Research for Pipestone Veterinary Services in Pipestone, Minn. Currently, he oversees the Pipestone Applied Research division and conducts research in the areas of air filtration and PEDV transmission & biosecurity.

Dr. Dee has received numerous awards including the AASV Swine Practitioner of the Year award (1996), the AD Leman Science in Practice award (1996), the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumnus award (1996), the AVMA Practitioner Research award (1998), University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Incentive Awards (1999 & 2000), University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Mark of Excellence Award (2005), University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Pfizer Award for Research Excellence (2007) and the Gustavus Adolphus College Distinguished Alumni Certificate in Veterinary Medicine and Sesquicentennial award (2012). Dr. Dee has served on the AASV board of directors and as president of the association in 2006. 

Meritorious Service Award
Dr. Patrick Webb was named the 2016 recipient of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ Meritorious Service Award. The award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to the AASV.

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Dr. Webb’s first exposure to swine production while attending Scattergood Friends School in West Branch, Iowa. The school maintained a 100 sow farrow to finish operation. He earned his DVM degree from Iowa State University in 1998. He joined Red Oak Veterinary Clinic in Red Oak, Iowa, following graduation where he practiced for a year. In 1999, he left Red Oak to join Stuart Veterinary Clinic in Stuart, Iowa prior to opening his own veterinary consulting and contracting service in 2001. Webb served as the Assistant State Fair Veterinarian at the Iowa State Fair for a number of years and worked for Iowa’s Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as Foreign Animal Disease Program Coordinator, where he developed the department's emergency preparedness plan for animal disease disasters. He joined the National Pork Board as Director of Swine Health, his current position, in 2005.

Throughout his career, Dr. Webb has worked extensively on emergency preparedness and planning at the local, state and federal levels. He has developed and delivered numerous educational programs directed at training producers, veterinarians, county emergency managers and first responders on how to respond to foreign animal disease disasters. Dr. Webb joined AASV in 2006. He currently chairs the AASV Foreign Animal Disease committee.

Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award
Dr. Chase Stahl received the AASVSwine Veterinarian of the Year Award, which is given annually to an AASV member five or less years post-graduation who has demonstrated the ideals of exemplary service and proficiency early in his or her career.

Dr. Stahl is a 2012 graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. During a summer job at Iowa State’s Diagnostic Laboratory, he became determined to pursue a career in swine veterinary medicine.

Dr. Stahl spent his first year following veterinary school practicing as a staff veterinarian with Iowa Select Farms. In 2013, he joined the Fairmont Veterinary Clinic in Fairmont, Minn., where he focused on serving swine and beef producers in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Dr. Stahl assists many independent swine producers with their health, production, marketing, and nutritional needs.

Dr. Stahl has been a member of AASV since he began veterinary school in 2008. He is an active committee member on the AASV’s Student Recruitment Committee and has helped organize the annual National Pork Industry Foundation veterinary student internship program. This program focuses on providing first and second year veterinary students with an opportunity to gain more swine veterinary experience through a month long mentorship program alongside a practicing swine veterinarian. 

Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award
Dr. Bob Thompson received the AASV Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award. Established in 2008, the award recognizes swine industry veterinarians who have demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in delivery of veterinary service to their companies and their clients as well as given tirelessly in service to the AASV and the swine industry.

Dr. Thompson was recognized for his years in technical service at Pig Improvement Company. Since joining PIC in 1991, he has served numerous roles, initially as Manager of Transportation and Supply Chain, then as Production Manager of PIC’s Owned Production in the Eastern USA, Western Region Contract Multiplication, Health Assurance and currently Health Services for North America. His current title is Coordinator of Health Services for North America. In this role, he works with PIC’s other Technical Service teams to improve performance of their products in customer systems.  

Dr. Thompson has worked extensively with the PIC Affiliate and User Group Boar Stud system and served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois in the Integrated Food Animal Management Systems (IFAMS) program. Achievements in his tenure at PIC have been conversion of PIC’s Owned and Multiplication System from 98% PRRSV positive to 100% negative, establishment of two PRRS negative genetic nucleus herds from positive sources in the late 90’s along with the Production and Health Assurance team at the time. In 2008, he had the opportunity to work with the establishment of Apex as a new genetic nucleus in South Dakota. 

Dr. Thompson has been influential in coordinating research with universities on inactivation of PRRSV and PEDV virus in transportation trailers using disinfection and heat, termed Temperature Assisted Drying and Decontamination (TADD).  Previously he received two Technical Service awards from PIC’s Global Technical Service Team.

Dr. Thompson received his DVM from Iowa State University. Following graduation, he joined the Columbus Veterinary Hospital in Columbus, Nebr., focusing on mixed animal. Later purchasing a practice in Osceola, Nebr. In 1989, he was accepted into the IFAMS program at the University of Illinois before joining PIC in 1991.

Dr. Thompson currently serves on the Trucker Quality Assurance Advisory Board and the Swine Health Committee for the National Pork Board. He was also recently named to the newly formed Secure Pork Supply Implementation Taskforce.

Student Poster Competition
The AASV provided an opportunity for 15 veterinary students to compete for awards in the Veterinary Student Poster Competition. Newport Laboratories sponsored the competition, offering awards totaling $3600.

Based on scores received in the original judging of abstracts submitted for the AASV Student Seminar, the top fifteen abstracts not selected for oral presentation at the Annual Meeting are eligible to compete in the poster competition. 

The awardees are Daniel Gascho, Kayla Blake, T’Lee Girard, Donna Drebes, Katharine Kancer, Megan Pieters, Chris Deegan, Kathryn Duda, Emily Mahan-Riggs, Jessica Piergiovanni, Kara Telfer, Ryan Tenbrgen and Thomas Wurtz.