Association Update

In my last letter to the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) membership I quoted the saying "the only constant is change."

In production animal medicine we are all too familiar with this concept. Our organization was founded in the 1970's when a group of veterinarians realized the need to share best practices and available research in an effort to respond to a rapidly changing industry.

Today AVC membership boasts over 1,000 veterinarians and veterinary students with a principal charge to provide high-quality continuing education to our members through best practices that veterinarians can implement immediately following our meetings as well as relevant research, much of which is cutting-edge

As an organization, more often we are finding ourselves being asked to weigh in on industry issues and support efforts of other industry organizations and stakeholders. This is a responsibility we will not shirk, but we need to keep our primary focus on education. I commend the efforts of individual members within our organization who step up to represent the AVC in the political arena. Sometimes right is right no matter how many slings and arrows are suffered during the course of the battle.

Fortunately, members of the non-ag public generally trust veterinarians. And we have a unique opportunity to counter the prolific misinformation about animal agriculture with factual, science-based dialog on animal health, animal welfare and the safety and security of our food supply. Sometimes when we ruffle the feathers of some politicians and activists, and even fellow veterinarians, it probably means we are doing our job.

Winter AVC Conference

In early December, AVC held its 2016 winter conference in Denver. Relating to best practices, the perspectives of Dr. Allen Roussel on physical examination of cattle, and Dr. Randy Hunter's take on animal handling and behavior as well as Drs. Carter King and Oliver Schunicht on the management, housing and handling of sick cattle were all big reminders of our veterinary charge when it comes to animal health and wellbeing.

From a research perspective, we continue to strive to provide cutting edge relevant information to our members. Dr. John Richeson forced us to rethink our dogma on the vaccination of high risk cattle, as well as Dr. Edouard Tismit giving us a look into novel approaches for BRD detection and confirmation.

Antibiotic use was the focus of our Saturday meeting. Susceptibility, prevalence, and "pathogenicity" relative to BRD therapy were all brought under discussion by Ms. Ashely Smith and Dr. Mike Clawson.

Finally Dr. Mike Apley, Dr. Marilyn Corbin and Dr. Guy Huffstedler brought us across the finish line on Saturday with a final chance to prepare for the implementation of the veterinary feed directive (VFD) as we roll into 2017.

The FDA's new VFD rules represent a major change in how veterinarians work with clients to obtain and use medicated feeds. Over the past year, AVC has devoted considerable time and educational resources toward helping veterinarians prepare for these changes. We expect more changes in antimicrobial regulations in the future, and AVC will continue working to keep members informed and prepared, so they can not only ensure clients stay in compliance, but help them improve animal performance and wellbeing while achieving meaningful improvements in antimicrobial stewardship.

The AVC appreciates the support of Bovine Veterinarian and the coverage they provide our organization. If you appreciate some the subject matter reported on by John Maday in this magazine, I encourage you to consider attending an AVC meeting and becoming a member of our organization.

With our ongoing focus on education, AVC holds three conferences each year, offering members continuing education (CE) credits through a wide variety of scientific and practical presentations. This year, our schedule includes:


AVC Spring Conference, March 30 to April 1, 2017, Westin Dallas Fort Worth Airport Hotel, Dallas, Texas


AVC Summer Conference, August 3 to 5, Renaissance Denver Hotel, Denver, Colo.


AVC Winter Conference, November 30 to December 2,

Intercontinental Hotel, Kansas City, Mo.

Find conference information and registration, along with general information about AVC on the academy's website at

The conferences typically begin with a sponsored dinner Thursday evening, with a full day of presentations on Friday and a half day on Saturday, allowing members to participate and earn their CE credits while minimizing time away from their practices. For members who cannot attend a conference, AVC posts the full presentations, at no charge for members, on its website at


Tom Portillo, DVM


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