Swine Health Management Update

Jeff Husa, DVM, DABVP (Swine Health Management), Swine Health Management Regent

Greetings! Each year I write this newsletter on the heels of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ (AASV) annual meeting. In the past, I have related the energy gained after networking with colleagues and attending outstanding CE. I’m happy to report that the 2020 conference once again delivered cutting edge information presented by leaders in their field, and ample opportunities to connect with friends old and new. Topics at this year’s meeting included Transboundary Disease, African Swine Fever, Animal Welfare, Practitioner Well-Being, some very timely Biosecurity, and many more. Our ABVP Diplomates were heavily involved as Committee Members and Presenters. I extend my thanks to Dr. Fangman and his Exam Committee for an outstanding evaluation cycle. And here’s a special shout out to Dr. Lisa Tokach, who was honored with the 2020 AASV Meritorious Service Award!

Unfortunately, this year’s meeting will also be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic. Our journey to AASV began just prior to the first wave of US coronavirus cases. Several colleagues from overseas were unable to attend due to travel restrictions in their own countries. Yet others faced challenges returning home. At present, as you are all well aware, the world faces what we hope will be a brief detour from normal life. The surreal drama unfolding is a frustrating blend of evidence-based crisis management inflamed by social media misinformation and panic. We’re witnessing relevant biosecurity practices amplified to levels not seen in this country during my lifetime. Sadly, in the midst of effective measures such as personal hygiene and social separation, we’re also hearing potentially detrimental rhetoric. I may be proven wrong, but isolating the virus from a family pet does not today conclude a significant infection risk. I fear the potential well-being impacts to animals and persons alike if healthy people begin shunning their four-legged companions. I urge you all as veterinarians to scientifically and logically engage to whatever level you are able in our trans-disciplinary One Health concept, “Animals”, “People”, “Environment.” Your expertise in sanitation, biosecurity, and disease transmission is desperately needed right now.

In closing, I wish all of you peace and health in the weeks ahead. Spring has finally come to the Midwest where I live. Please take a few minutes to ignore the clamor around you, and instead enjoy this season as the sun and rain usher in the flowers and green of 2020!