Annual Meeting Report
AASV Annual Meeting sets records again

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) held its 48th annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, February 25-28, 2017. The meeting, held at the Hyatt Regency Denver, drew record attendance of 1200 total attendees, including 724 paid registrants (also a record) and 146 veterinary students from 24 colleges of veterinary medicine. The conference participants hailed from 30 countries, with 245 (20% of the total) from outside the United States. The total attendance also included a record 270 exhibit representatives from 91 companies and organizations (another all-time high).

The meeting participants enjoyed the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions, including 11 pre-conference seminars, two general sessions, three break-out sessions, research topics, three industrial partners sessions, the Student Seminar, and a poster session featuring 58 posters. In addition, 13 AASV committees met during the annual meeting.

Dr Jeff Zimmerman opened the Monday general session with the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture. His presentation, entitled “Swine medicine in the 21st century: Immovable Object meets Unstoppable force” explored the conundrum facing swine veterinarians today – our highly efficient system of pork production (The Immovable Object) is jeopardized by our inability to deal with infectious disease (The Unstoppable Force), which is largely the result of the design of our highly efficient production system. One of the key take-aways from Dr Zimmerman’s talk is that swine veterinarians need to find ways to make the swine industry more agile and devise solutions that neutralize the power of infectious disease.

Dr Matthew Turner presented the Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture entitled “One Health: roles, responsibilities, and opportunities for swine veterinarians.” His presentation explored the history of the One Health movement and the opportunities for swine veterinarians, including food safety, animal welfare, antibiotic resistance, and client and consumer education.

The Monday afternoon concurrent sessions allowed attendees the opportunity to delve deeper into the broad topics of swine diseases, antibiotic use, and managing the reproductive herd for high health and productivity. The Tuesday general session addressed the issues associated with disease control and elimination.

The AASV Awards Reception was held Monday night, followed by the AASV Foundation’s annual fund-raising auction. Dr John Waddell presented the Heritage Award to Dr K. T. Wright. This is only the third time the Heritage Award has been presented. Dr Matt Anderson, 2013 AASV president and chair of the 2017 Awards Selection Committee, presented the recipients of the Swine Practitioner of the Year Award (Dr Mike Eisenmenger), the Howard Dunne Memorial Award (Dr Rodger Main), the Meritorious Service Award (Dr Jeff Harker), the Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award (Dr Josh Ellingson), and the Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award (Dr Tom Wetzell).

Swine Practitioner of the Year

Dr Mike Eisenmenger was named 2017 Swine Practitioner of the Year. The award is given to the swine practitioner who has demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of veterinary service to clients.

Dr Eisenmenger was born and raised on a small family farm in Cherokee, Iowa. His family farmed and raised hogs, leading to his early interest in swine. He went on to attend Iowa State University where he obtained an undergraduate degree in Animal Science. Dr Eisenmenger earned his DVM in 1983 from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Upon graduation, Dr Eisenmenger worked for the Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Windom, Minnesota, for 13 years. In 1997, he took a job at the Swine Vet Center in Saint Peter, Minnesota, working as a swine consultant for swine producers along with 11 other veterinarians. He has worked for the Swine Vet Center for 21 years.

Dr Eisenmenger served on the 1998 American Association of Swine Practitioners Annual Meeting Planning Committee. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association.

Asked to comment about receiving this award, Dr Eisenmenger replied, “It is such an honour being recognized by your peers working in the swine industry. I really want to thank all the mentors I have had working with me through the years. When I joined the Swine Vet Center in 1997, I still recall what Dr Tim Loula told me. “Always do what is right for the client. If you make them healthy, profitable, and the best they can be, it will always be good for you too.” The clients I work for have been a big part of this recognition. I also want to thank my parents for teaching me the value of hard work and treating people with respect.”

Dr Eisenmenger and his wife reside in Windom, Minnesota. They have four children: Nate (30), Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Matt (28), St Cloud, Minnesota; Nick (25), Bismarck, North Dakota; and Adam (23), Rochester, Minnesota.

Howard Dunne Memorial Award

Dr Rodger Main received the Howard Dunne Memorial Award. The award recognizes an AASV member who has made important contributions and provided outstanding service to the association and the swine industry.

Dr Main obtained his DVM from the Iowa State University (ISU) College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. He subsequently received a PhD in nutrition from the Food Animal Health and Management Center and Department of Animal Science at Kansas State University in 2005. He began his veterinary career as a staff veterinarian in the Murphy-Brown Western Operations. He became the company’s director of production systems in 2003. In that role he led research to improve production and health in the largest pig production company in the world.

In 2009, he accepted a position managing the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) where he is currently professor and director of operations. The ISU VDL team of 145 faculty and staff process more than 80,000 case submissions and conduct approximately 1.5 million diagnostic assays annually. Under his leadership, the ISU VDL has seen significant growth and continued its long history of providing a customer-centric service to swine veterinarians throughout the United States.

Dr Main has been heavily involved with the AASV and National Pork Board (NPB) throughout his career, on committees such as the AASV Foreign Animal Disease Committee, NPB Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Taskforce, NPB Emerging Disease Surveillance Data Management Taskforce, Swine Health Information Center Surveillance Data Working Group, and several others. Dr Main has been recognized for his efforts with several awards, including the Honorary Master Pork Producer from the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the National Pork Producer Award for Innovative Research, the Alpha Gamma Rho alumni achievement award, and the Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award.

When asked what it meant to him to receive the Howard Dunne Memorial Award he responded, “I am deeply humbled and honored to be recognized by this organization, whose members have had such a positive impact on my life. I feel incredibly blessed to have had so many tremendous mentors, co-workers, clients, and an overly understanding and supportive spouse. I am most appreciative in that this honor is an outward recognition of appreciation for the tremendous group of people that I have the opportunity to work with and serve each day.”

Dr Main and his wife, Marcy, live in Ames, Iowa.

Meritorious Service Award

Dr Jeffrey Harker was named the Meritorious Service Award recipient.The award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to the AASV.

Dr Harker grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in south central Indiana. His father built one of the first confinement swine barns in the community in 1980. Interacting with the veterinarians who visited their farm stimulated an interest in population medicine and becoming a veterinarian. Dr Harker was accepted to veterinary school at Purdue University in 1990.

After graduation from veterinary school in 1994, Dr Harker joined Dr Max Rodibaugh at Swine Health Services as an associate veterinarian and then became a partner in 2001. Their practice is dedicated to swine, and serves a very diverse swine clientele ranging from small show-pig herds to contract growers in integrated production. The bulk of their clients have independent family farms.

Dr Harker has been involved in many organizations, starting with 4-H club president and FFA chapter president. He also received the American Farmer Degree from the FFA. He served 7 years on the Indiana Pork Producers Board of Directors and was president in 2008. Dr Harker currently serves as AASV District 4 director and represents AASV in the American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates. He has also served on the AASV Annual Meeting Planning Committee and currently chairs the AASV Continuing Education Committee. Dr Harker has been involved with the National Pork Board’s Operation Main Street program since it began several years ago.

When asked to comment about receiving the award, Harker responded, “I really appreciate being recognized by my peers at AASV. This organization has benefited me my whole career and I continue working to pay back what I have gained by membership in this great organization.”

Dr Harker and his wife, Traci, reside in Frankfort, Indiana. They have four children: Kathleen, Sarah, Matthew, and Amelia.

Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award

The Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award was presented to Dr Josh Ellingson. It is given annually to an AASV member 5 or fewer years post graduation who has demonstrated the ideals of exemplary service and proficiency early in his or her career.

Dr Ellingson received his DVM degree in 2011 from Iowa State University (ISU) College of Veterinary Medicine. He received a master’s degree in Veterinary Microbiology from ISU in 2013.

Dr Ellingson is currently a partner and veterinarian with AMVC Management Services in Audubon, Iowa. In addition to his work with AMVC, he is the associate director and serves on the board of directors of the Swine Medicine Education Center at ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr Ellingson grew up in Alden, Iowa, on a swine and row crop farm, where his parents, Scott and Cynthia, still live. It was there he developed an appreciation for animals, agriculture, farmers, and rural communities. Throughout his education he developed a passion for the sciences and therefore sought out a career which combined these interests.

“I was looking for a career that would incorporate agriculture, the sciences, and something where I’d be able to help people. Veterinary medicine has provided the means for me to do those things. Swine medicine is a great combination of animal husbandry, hardcore sciences (microbiology, virology, chemistry, etc), and working with people,” noted Dr Ellingson.

Upon acceptance of the award, Dr Ellingson commented, “I’m humbled to be honored with this award. I credit my family, the AMVC team, and all of the mentors who have helped me along the way, especially the other veterinarians at AMVC and those associated with the Swine Medicine Education Center. I get to work with great people every day whom I consider to be my extended family. Thank you to AASV for providing such great avenues to develop professional skills and knowledge.”

Dr Ellingson and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Audubon, Iowa, and currently have two children, Tyler (5) and Carly (3), and a miniature dachshund.

Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award

Dr Thomas Wetzell received the Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award. Established in 2008, the award recognizes swine industry veterinarians who have demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in delivery of veterinary service to their companies and their clients, as well as given tirelessly in service to the AASV and the swine industry.

Dr Wetzell was recognized for his years in technical service at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BI). Dr Wetzell joined BI in 2008 as part of their US swine professional services team and works with swine veterinary practices and production companies in the upper Midwest. He graduated with his DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1977, and practiced with his father in Wells, Minnesota, prior to joining BI. Dr Wetzell, AASV’s 2004 Swine Practitioner of the Year, served as president of both South Central Veterinary Associates and South Central Ag Products.

When asked to comment on what the award meant to him, Dr Wetzell said, “It is an honor yet very humbling to receive this award in a field that has so many deserving veterinarians.”

Dr Wetzell and his wife, Pam, reside in Cleveland, Minnesota.

Annual Business Breakfast

American Association of Swine Veterinarians President Dr George Charbonneau reported on the association’s membership and activities during the annual breakfast on Tuesday, February 28th. He stated there were 1452 members, including 327 student members. The 2017 AASV officers, Drs Alex Ramirez, President; Scanlon Daniels, President-elect; Nathan Winkelman, Vice President; and George Charbonneau, Past President, were introduced. The board welcomed newly re-elected district directors: Dr Gene Nemechek (District 2), Dr Bill Hollis (District 5), Dr Jeff Kurt (District 9), and Dr Blaine Tully (District 11). Dr Charbonneau also welcomed Jordan Gebhardt (Kansas State University), incoming Alternate Student Delegate to the AASV Board of Directors, and thanked outgoing Student Delegate Emily Mahan-Riggs (North Carolina State University). Brent Sexton (Iowa State University) assumes the role of Student Delegate. Honored guests at the business breakfast included Dr Tom Meyer (AVMA president), Dr John Howe (AVMA Executive Board representative), Dr Liz Wagstrom (National Pork Producers Council), and Dr Patrick Webb (National Pork Board). The audience heard updates from each respective organization. Approximately 300 people attended the breakfast.

AASV Foundation announces student scholarships

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians Foundation awarded scholarships totaling $25,000 to 15 veterinary students.

Cassandra Fitzgerald, Iowa State University, received the $5000 scholarship for top student presentation. Her presentation was titled “Comparison of standard and bench entry protocols for prevention of environmental contamination due to personnel entry in a commercial swine facility.” Zoetis provided the financial support for the Top Student Presenter Award.

Additional scholarships totaling $20,000 were funded by Elanco Animal Health as shown in the accompanying photos.

Fifty veterinary students from 12 universities submitted abstracts for consideration. From those submissions, 15 students were selected to present during the annual meeting. Zoetis, sponsor of the Student Seminar, provided a $750 travel stipend to each student selected to participate.

Recipients of the $2500 AASV Foundation scholarships

Kim Lawson (far right) presented scholarships sponsored by Elanco Animal Health. Recipients of the $2500 AASV Foundation scholarships (from left): Megan Nickel, Iowa State University; Zhen Yang, University of Minnesota; Michael Mardesen, Iowa State University; Kimberlee Baker, Iowa State University.

Recipients of the $1500 AASV Foundation scholarships

Kim Lawson (far right) presented scholarships sponsored by Elanco Animal Health. Recipients of the $1500 AASV Foundation scholarships (from left): Alyssa Anderson, University of Minnesota; Kylie Glisson, North Carolina State University; Hunter Baldry, University of Minnesota; Chelsea Ruston, Iowa State University; and Jane Newman, University of Guelph.

Recipients of the $500 AASV Foundation scholarships

Kim Lawson (far right) presented scholarships sponsored by Elanco Animal Health. Recipients of the $500 AASV Foundation scholarships (from left): Rachel Schulte, Iowa State University; Megan Pieters, Iowa State University; Chris Deegan, University of Minnesota; Olivia Myers, North Carolina State University. Not pictured: Allison Knox, University of Illinois.

AASV announces student poster competition awardees

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) provided an opportunity for 15 veterinary students to compete for awards in the Veterinary Student Poster Competition. Newport Laboratories sponsored the competition, offering awards totaling $4000.

On the basis of scores received in the original judging of abstracts submitted for the AASV Student Seminar, the top 15 abstracts not selected for oral presentation at the annual meeting are eligible to compete in the poster competition.

Newport Laboratories announced the following awards during the AASV Luncheon on February 27th:

$500 scholarship: Jordan Gebhardt, Kansas State University – Top student poster entitled “Evaluation of the effects of flushing feed manufacturing equipment with chemically treated rice hulls on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) cross contamination during feed manufacturing.”

$400 scholarships: Taylor Engle, Virginia-Maryland Regional CVM; Eve Fontanella, Iowa State University. Not pictured.

$300 scholarships: Sara Hamlett, Iowa State University; Joel Steckelberg, Iowa State University; Courtney Wright, Ohio State University.

$200 scholarships: Jessica Applebaum, University of Pennsylvania; Megan Bloemer, University of Illinois; Brandi Burton, University of Illinois; Laura Constance, Kansas State University; Donna Drebes, University of Minnesota; Anna Martin, University of Pennsylvania; Katie O’Brien, University of Illinois; Lauren Redies, University of Saskatchewan; Rochelle Warner, Iowa State University.

In addition to the poster competition awards, each student poster participant received a $250 travel stipend from Zoetis and the AASV.

The $300 poster competition winners

The $300 poster competition winners (left to right): Sara Hamlett, Iowa State University; Joel Steckelberg, Iowa State University; and Courtney Wright, Ohio State University.

The $200 poster competition winners

The $200 poster competition winners (left to right): Jessica Applebaum, University of Pennsylvania; Donna Drebes, University of Minnesota; Laura Constance, Kansas State University; Anna Martin, University of Pennsylvania; Brandi Burton, University of Illinois; Megan Bloemer, University of Illinois; Rochelle Warner, Iowa State University. Not pictured: Katie O’Brien, University of Illinois and Lauren Redies, University of Saskatchewan.

AASV Proceedings online

Even if you weren’t able to attend the AASV Annual Meeting in Denver, you can still benefit from the many excellent presentations delivered at the meeting. The conference proceedings (including the pre-conference seminar booklets) are available for all AASV members to download at (or look under the “Resources” menu tab on the AASV Web site for “AASV Meeting Proceedings”). All you need is your AASV member username and password with 2017 dues-paid status.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • The “big book” containing all of the papers for the regular meeting sessions in a single PDF file with a hyperlinked table of contents
  • Seminar booklets – a PDF file for each seminar
  • Individual papers for each presentation in the Swine Information Library (

If your AASV username/password isn’t handy, click the “Reset Password” link in the upper right of an AASV Web page to have it e-mailed to you. Need to pay your 2017 AASV membership dues? Go to Please allow a few days for your membership record to be updated.

Thank you, AASV Annual Meeting sponsors!

Members of AASV attending the annual meeting make a substantial investment in the form of registration fees, travel, lodging, meals, and potential loss of income while away from work. However, the cost of attendance would be even greater – or the quality of the meeting experience reduced – if it were not for the financial support provided by corporate sponsors for refreshments, meals, and social activities, as well as scholarships and travel stipends for veterinary students. The AASV extends its sincere appreciation for the sponsorship of meeting events by the following companies:

  • AgriLabs (Refreshment Break)
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc (AASV Luncheon)
  • CEVA Animal Health (Refreshment Break)
  • Elanco Animal Health (AASV Awards Reception and AASV Foundation Veterinary Student Scholarships)
  • GlobalVetLINK (Refreshment Break)
  • Hog Slat (Refreshment Break)
  • Merck Animal Health (Student Reception, Student Swine Trivia Event, Merck Veterinary Student Scholarships)
  • Newport Laboratories (Veterinary Student Travel Stipends and Veterinary Student Poster Scholarships)
  • Quality Technology International (Refreshment Break)
  • Stuart Products (Praise Breakfast)
  • Zoetis (Welcome Reception, AASV Student Seminar and Student Poster Session, AASV Foundation Top Student Presenter Scholarship)

The AASV is also grateful to the 91 companies and organizations that provided support through their participation in the 2017 Technical Tables exhibit. Thank you all!