The Academy of Dairy Veterinary Consultants (ADVC) held its spring meeting in Boise, Idaho on April 8. The meeting covered practical immunology, vaccinology, and the impact of transition cow health on reproduction"

The ADVC held its first meeting 33 years ago, at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Resource Center (VMTRC) in Tulare, California in 1985. There were only a handful of veterinarians in those first years, all interested in challenging themselves, asking difficult questions, and gaining new knowledge.

The idea behind the organization started in the 1970s, when a group of dairy veterinarians from the western states (those traditionally with large herds), sought to improve themselves and were unable to find an avenue that would meet this goal. AABP was, at the time, focused on different demands, and UC Davis Veterinary School was unable to offer the preventive medicine masters to working individuals. The culture of veterinary medicine was shifting from treatment to prevention, and this group of vets wanted to further educate themselves within this shifting paradigm on the latest scientific research in dairy production medicine. They worked with the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, an organization working towards the same goals in the beef industry, to host their first meeting on Dairy Nutrition.

Dr. Don Klingborg, founder/organizer of ADVC, remembers, “Topics would be revisited regularly across the years, troubleshooting areas that were hard to apply in practice settings, and enlarging our knowledge base within and across topics. There was time built in for a lot of audience participation to be sure the speaker was addressing the needs of the practitioners in the audience.”

ADVC was initially an exclusive organization, with 15-30 people per meeting, with increased ability to participate in the discussions, interact with experts, and network with like-minded colleagues. The organization has since grown to 30-60 people per meeting, while continuing to maintain this ability to stay involved. Many ADVC members have since been recognized for their contributions to dairy herd health and preventive medicine.

This spring, the speakers were Dr. Chris Chase, South Dakota State University, Dr. Amelia Woolums, Mississippi State University, and Dr. Luis Mendonca, Kansas State University. Dr. Chase spoke about the impact stress has on the immune system, and how to create vaccine protocols with appropriate timing as to maximize vaccine efficacy. Dr. Woolums reviewed immunology in the calf, including current colostrum, nutrition, and vaccination recommendations. Dr. Mendonca discussed transition cow disease and the use of records analysis software in assessing overall immune health of the herd.

The highlight of this years’ meeting was a two-hour discussion on vaccine protocols. Sample protocols were reviewed by the three speakers, and with input from the audience, an enthusiastic discussion occurred regarding vaccine type, strain, and timing.

Dr. Woolums reviewed calf protocols, and the members discussed current research on age at vaccination and interference of maternal antibodies. Dr. Chase reviewed cow protocols, including which are most effective and which need to be given alone or on the same day as other vaccines. The audience asked questions and gave examples, which encouraged healthy debate about vaccine protocols, which vary greatly on a farm-to-farm basis as needed.

Throughout the years, ADVC has evolved to fit the needs of the members. The organization offers a one-day Saturday meeting twice a year (spring and fall), with the opportunity to earn 7.5 hours of CE. The meetings are held in the western states, in cities with large airports in order to minimize travel expenses for members.

With member input the president chooses meeting topics that are pertinent to dairy production medicine. The executive board, including the president, is made up of participating members who rotate in volunteer positions to plan the twice yearly meetings.

Dr. Dale Moore, who managed the organization for 17 years with Dr. Bill Sischo, states, “The biggest meetings were the milk quality meeting and the training for animal welfare audits. During this time, students were recruited. With many younger practitioners (former students) participating, the academy grew and met the needs of western dairy veterinarians for a regional, intense look at practical and advanced dairy topics.”

You can find more information on the Academy of Dairy Veterinary Consultants at academyofdairyveterinaryconsultants.org.