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Transition cow management focus of annual dairy veterinarian conference

Updates on transition cow health and ketosis were the focus of the annual Dairy Health Management Certificate Program at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College last week.

Now in its 21st year, the annual conference provides dairy veterinarians with updates on current approaches to dairy cow health management, as well as an opportunity to network with fellow practitioners, faculty, and guest lecturers.

This is the biggest year yet in terms of attendance, says meeting organizer Dr. Stephen LeBlanc, Professor in OVC's Population Medicine department, with more than 40 dairy practitioners from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as Israel and England, along with researchers and graduate students from the UofG. The program, originally developed by Dr. Ken Leslie, has provided a model for similar programs around the world.

“The University of Guelph boasts enormous depth in dairy research evidenced by the recent launch of a new cross-campus network Dairy at Guelph,” adds LeBlanc. “This annual meeting provides an opportunity to share innovative science with practitioners who are working one-on-one with dairy farmers to support and grow the industry.”

Dr. Stephen LeBlanc introduces Dr. Jessica McArt’s session on costs and benefits of ketosis testing and treatment.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Jessica McArt, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, focusing on the costs and benefits of ketosis testing and treatment, and Dr. Ricardo Chebel, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, discussing reproductive management of dairy herds, along with transition housing and management.

Rounding out the agenda was Dr. Eduardo Ribeiro, from the UofG’s Department of Animal Biosciences, discussing fertility issues, David Kelton and Stephanie Croyle outlining findings from Canada’s first National Dairy Study, Steven Roche providing tips to help understand and motivate behaviour change, and graduate students with updates on current research.

The opportunity to connect and learn from colleagues is one of the benefits for Dr. Kurtis Swirsky, a veterinarian with Beausejour Animal Hospital in Manitoba, who was attending the conference for the second time. His practice regularly sends someone to DHMCP.

“It brings cutting-edge research information to veterinarians that we can take back to our practices and implement,” he adds. “There is generally very practical information and also an opportunity to learn from colleagues also attending the program.”

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