AASV news

AASV rolls out Web-based version of PRRS Risk Assessment

The new Web-based version of the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd was unveiled in Ames, Iowa, to participants in a training session held November 10 following the Iowa State University (ISU) Swine Disease Conference. To help risk assessment and benchmarking become much more widely utilized, the AASV Production Animal Disease Risk Assessment Program (PADRAP) was initiated in 2006. The Web application is a major step forward for the program. The program is committed to helping establish and support a long-term coordinated, cooperative, and collaborative epidemiologically based initiative to manage disease risks faced by the North American swine industry. The AASV and ISU College of Veterinary Medicine are working with support from the NPB, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, USDA-APHIS, and PRRS-CAP (CREES, NC-229) to develop and support PADRAP for the swine industry.

The PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd was initially developed by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica using Microsoft Excel and Visual Basic for Applications. Over 95 AASV member veterinarians were trained on the spreadsheet version. Assessments from the spreadsheet-based risk assessment will continue to be accepted through March 8, 2008. Veterinarians who have been previously trained on the spreadsheet version of the risk assessment tool will need to attend a training session in order to use the Web version. Training sessions will be offered online and in conjunction with the 2008 annual AASV meeting.

Veterinarians have applied the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd to evaluate current biosecurity protocols or develop new biosecurity protocols to avoid risk or both; to demonstrate improvement in biosecurity over time to help justify expenditure of resources on measures to improve biosecurity; as an aid in the decision to initiate a project to eliminate PRRSV from a breeding-herd site, or to identify modifiable risk factors in an effort to increase the likelihood that an elimination project will be successful long-term; as an aid in the decision to use a breeding-herd site to produce genetic animals; to communicate risks and the importance of biosecurity procedures to clients or production personnel; and as part of the due-diligence process for purchases or contracting agreements.

The Web-based application allows trained veterinarians to submit completed assessments for breeding-herd sites and immediately view risk-benchmarking reports for the sites. Veterinarians can also create and send links to reports to clients or production personnel for viewing or printing. An additional feature is the ability to print surveys so that assessments may be completed off line. A time-saving feature allows veterinarians to complete multiple assessments simultaneously. This feature is particularly useful when multiple sites are assessed within the same production system, where the answers to many of the questions may be the same for all breeding-herd sites. Another time-saving feature allows previously completed assessments to be duplicated and used as the basis for newly completed assessments. This feature is particularly useful when surveys are repeated over time for the same breeding-herd site or when surveys are being completed for multiple breeding-herd sites that share many of the same operational links, such as boar studs or trucking.

Currently, only the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd is available through the Web application. However, it is designed to easily accommodate risk assessments for other swine diseases, other stages of production, and even other species. Plans are currently being made to develop PRRS risk assessments for growing pigs and boar studs, which would also be offered through the Web application.

For more information on the Web version of the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd, and PADRAP in general, please e-mail aasv@aasv.org or call the AASV office at 515-465-5255.

AASV announces support for premises registration

The AASV recognized the importance of premises registration in a position statement adopted during their board of directors fall meeting in Kansas City on October 2. The Board unanimously approved a position statement supporting the USDA’s premises registration effort as “integral to an effective disease management program.” The association’s leadership encourages its member veterinarians to register their premises, including veterinary clinics and livestock farms, and to promote premises registration to their livestock clients. This information will be used by state and federal animal-health officials in response to an animal-health emergency and to facilitate the management of disease control programs.

Veterinarians interested in registering their premises can do so by visiting the USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS) Web site at http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/premises_id/register.shtml, where they will find information about the NAIS and the importance of registering livestock premises and facilities associated with livestock production and animal health. The Web site contains an interactive map of the United States, which will direct the user to registration materials for each individual state. Swine producers in the United States are actively pursuing premises registration as part of a comprehensive swine identification program. Pork producers announced their support of a mandatory animal identification system during the 2005 Pork Forum in Orlando, Florida. Since 1989, swine moving interstate have been required to be identified as part of the pseudorabies virus eradication program.

AASV position statement on premises registration

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) supports premises registration to facilitate the identification of livestock premises for the purpose of disease control programs. The AASV recognizes the importance of rapidly responding to disease outbreaks and the necessity of identifying locations housing susceptible livestock. Premises registration forms the basis of an effective disease management program. The AASV therefore urges its members to register their premises (veterinary clinics, farms, etc.) and also to promote premises registration to their livestock clients.

Applicants sought for alternate student delegate on AASV Board of Directors

The AASV Student Recruitment Committee is accepting applications for veterinary students interested in serving as the alternate student delegate on the AASV Board of Directors. This student will represent student interests and serve as a nonvoting member of the AASV board. This experience will provide the student with a unique perspective on the inner workings of the AASV. The term of service is 2 years: the first year as alternate student delegate, and the second year as the student delegate.

The alternate student delegate and student delegate are required to attend the AASV board’s two meetings each year: the spring meeting held during the AASV Annual Meeting, and the fall meeting, which is usually held in October. The student delegate presents a summary of board activities to the student membership at the student breakfast during the AASV Annual Meeting and should reemphasize all student opportunities in AASV to the AASV student members at that time. In addition, the delegate and alternate delegate are voting members of the AASV Student Recruitment Committee and are invited to participate in committee conference calls and meetings. The delegates receive reimbursement to cover travel and lodging expenses for the fall board meeting and transportation expenses for the spring meeting.

Interested students must be members of AASV in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year. Applicants are required to submit the following documentation to the AASV (902 1st Avenue, Perry, IA 50220-1703; E-mail: aasv@aasv.org):
1) an introductory letter, not to exceed one page, explaining why they want to serve as the alternate student delegate for AASV and their level of interest and background in swine medicine; 2) a one-page resume featuring the student’s interest and experience in production medicine, particularly swine medicine; and 3) a statement of recommendation from the student’s AASV faculty advisor. The deadline for submission of necessary documentation is January 31, 2008.

The delegate will be chosen by members of the AASV Student Recruitment Committee following review of the submitted materials. The student recruitment committee may seek additional comment from other AASV members, including the AASV Collegiate Activities Committee. The term of service is 2 years, beginning at the AASV Annual Meeting. During the first year, the student will serve as the alternate student delegate. The alternate delegate will automatically succeed as student delegate, beginning at the annual meeting the following year. The alternate delegate will serve in the capacity of delegate if the student delegate is unable to carry out his or her duties. Each year, a new alternate delegate will be selected by the AASV Student Recruitment Committee.

AASV sponsors resolution to address “30-day health rule”

The United States Animal Health Association’s (USAHA’s) Transmissible Diseases of Swine Committee passed a resolution to address issues with the USDA’s interpretation of the 30-day health rule. The resolution asks for changes in the wording of accreditation regulations addressing the issue of animal inspections prior to shipment outside of a recognized production system. The USDA has interpreted the language in 9CFR161.3(a)(2) to require an accredited veterinarian to inspect animals born since the last 30-day herd visit before issuing a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) for interstate movement outside of a production system. The AASV sponsored a resolution before the committee recommending the wording be changed to the following: “(2) Following the third and subsequent inspections of a herd or flock in a regular health maintenance program, an accredited veterinarian shall not issue a certificate, form, record or report which reflects the results of any inspection, test, vaccination or treatment performed by him or her with respect to any animal residing in the herd or flock at the time of the last inspection or born into the herd or flock since the last inspection in that program, unless he or she has personally inspected that herd or flock within 30 days prior to issuance.” This language would allow veterinarians to issue a CVI for animals born since the previous 30-day herd health visit required as part of a recognized herd health plan without having to revisit the herd to individually inspect the newly born animals.

This resolution was approved by the USAHA Board of Directors and has been forwarded to USDA, which has up to a year to respond. If USDA agrees to propose the suggested language change, it may then take up to another year for the wording to be changed and codified. The AASV is continuing to work closely with USDA to achieve a workable solution to alleviate the risk of veterinarians potentially losing their accreditation for failure to adhere to this regulation.