President's Message

January and February, 1997

I would like to thank all of you who sent holiday greetings to the Hill family. It was great hearing from all of you, especially those whose paths we do not cross often enough. As usual, there were many things that I had planned to do in 1996 that are now agenda items for 1997. It seems like 1996 was fortified with afterburners all year long, and I'm sure many of you had the same experience. We need not ponder the past when we have so much to look forward to in the future. Our profession and our industry continue to change at warp speed. Some of these changes are good and some less so, but all of them create opportunities for us as swine practitioners.

Let me assure you that the state of your organization is healthy and prosperous. Our financial status is excellent, allowing the AASP to continue to bring its members cutting edge information using many media formats. For example, Swine Health and Production is now being published electronically on our AASP website on the Internet ( (September 1996, November 1996, and January 1997 issues are all now online). Access to the journal online will be restricted to members and subscribers; you'll be receiving a mailing giving you your username and password if you choose to take advantage of the added features available in our online publication (see pages 33-34 for more information). We shall, of course, also continue to produce Swine Health and Production in its traditional print format.

After spending the past year interacting with other allied organizations, I can assure you that the AASP is the best bargain around. The best of the best is our Annual Meeting, which I hope all of you are planning to attend. Dr. Rueff and his Program Committee have put the final touches on the program for the 1997 Annual Meeting in Quebec City. At the request of several members, the program was published in the November/December 1996 issue of Swine Health and Production (pages 292-295), as well as on the AASP website. This was an excellent idea and one that will be perpetuated in the future.

Who thought they knew everything about PRRS that they needed to know? If anyone responded affirmatively to this question, Mother Nature may have just dealt your confidence a blow. As most of you have probably heard, a "new" disease manifestation, which may be PRRS, has affected herds in Southeast Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, and possibly other states. The clinical signs include abortions in 10%-50% of the bred females across all parities. This is accompanied by significant sow mortality. The swine health industry has responded by opening lines of communication between producers, swine practitioners, diagnosticians, researchers, and regulatory officials. Several AASP members have participated in conference calls and meetings sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) concerning this new syndrome. A group of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists recently spent several days in Southeast Iowa to gather epidemiological information about this disease. Their report will be available by mid-January. In an effort to provide timely information to AASP members about this "atypical PRRS," the Swine Health Committee and the PRRS Subcommittee were mobilized. A fact sheet with the most current information available was prepared and will be sent to all AASP members during January, as well as published on the AASP website. (Obviously, you will have received and read this information by the time you read this President's Message.) I would like to thank everyone on these committees who contributed to this effort. Special thanks to Drs. Paul Yeske, Jim Collins, and Pat Halbur for their contributions. In addition to this fact sheet, current information on "atypical PRRS" will be presented at the Annual Meeting, courtesy of Dr. Rueff and some last-minute juggling of the program. Thanks, Larry!

In an effort to make existing medications more available for use by veterinarians, the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA) was developed and ratified. The Animal Drug Availability Act (ADAA) was created to expedite the drug approval process. In addition, a third effort is Professional Flexible Labeling, which will allow for additional useful label information to veterinarians. The AASP has been active in all of these arenas. Comments from AASP members concerning the AMDUCA legislation were collated by Dr. Tom Burkgren and presented to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These comments resulted in improved legislation. Dr. Burkgren has developed condensed information that will be distributed to all AASP members and published on the website to help you understand these new laws. Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has also summarized the extra-label rules. This summary was published in the January 1, 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA). It will be well worth your time to read these summaries to avoid any problems. Remember, extra-label use of a drug is not permitted in or on animal feed.

The ADAA also created a new classification of drugs known as Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) drugs for use in and on feeds. The first drug, Pulmotil®, which will be used under the guidelines of the VFD, has just been approved. A summary of the VFD will also be mailed to all AASP members in January and published on our website.

See you in Quebec City!