Panther Pee. Hope Dope. Bloody Mary. Pink Lady. They sound like some exotic cocktails, and by all rights they were — cocktails of pharmaceuticals used in the early days of feedlot medicine before our more sophisticated therapies were available. Feedlot medicine has advanced in many ways since the 1960s and 70s — many of those advances happening just in the last decade.

By appearances, this issue looks as though it’s just a celebration of the Academy of Veterinary Consultant’s (AVC) 35th anniversary, but it’s more than that. It’s an examination of the last four decades of feedlot medicine and how it — and beef cattle veterinarians — have changed, evolved and positioned for the future.

This series of articles looks at the issues, challenges, tools and opportunities that have been part of the feedlot industry and have impacted beef cattle veterinarians, including BQA and the issues of BVDV as well as antibiotic use. AVC members themselves suggested the names of feedlot veterinarians —  their own peers — who they thought have had or are having significant impacts on feedlot medicine. Those veterinarians are featured in the VIPs of Feedlot Medicine article and on the cover.

My dad Bruce has been a member of AVC since 1981. I can remember in high school and college being introduced to many of the veterinarians I have interviewed for Bovine Veterinarian articles for the last 14 years. Having been to a zillion  veterinary conventions with my parents growing up (when you’re a kid, it seems like a zillion), I asked my dad, “Why do they call themselves the Academy of Veterinary Consultants and make themselves sound so important when they’re just a bunch of feedlot vets?”

After all these years working with you, I understand. This group is deserving of a title that represents much more than “just being a feedlot vet.” I have watched you work with cattle, work with clients, train employees, necropsy deads, mentor students, network with colleagues, fight activist groups with science, promote rural and food-animal medicine and help put safe wholesome food on the world’s table.

A dictionary defined the word academy as “A society of scholars, scientists or artists.” I have watched many of you blend the art and science of veterinary medicine and animal husbandry in your work. “Academy” is a fitting title indeed. Many of the veterinarians featured in these articles use the term “comradery” when they talk about their colleagues. I witness this at every AVC meeting and at other places where I have seen you working together.

For those of you who have been in this business many years, I hope you enjoy recalling some of these issues and events from the past several decades. For those of you who are still in school or just starting in feedlot medicine, I hope you take to heart the challenges your predecessors have overcome and your current colleagues are facing. Turn to them for advice, guidance, mentoring and friendship. Feedlot guru and first AVC president, David Bechtol, DVM, encourages you to “jump in with both feet and don’t worry about making a few mistakes.”

Geni Wren, Editor
gwren@food360.com

Next issue of Bovine Veterinarian: September 2007