|Dr. Patricia Olson|
The grandeur of the Rocky Mountains provided a magnificent setting for the Society for Theriogenology annual meeting, which was hosted by the city of Colorado Springs on Aug. 7-11. This meeting was a cooperative venture with the American College of Theriogenologists.
President, Dr. James Alexander, Yazoo City, Miss., welcomed 234 attendees to the opening plenary session. He noted with sorrow the events of Sept. 11, 2001, that had resulted in cancellation of the 2001 SFT annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also indicated, however, that those events had resulted in a continued commitment of the SFT to provide leadership in the discipline of theriogenology to veterinarians in the United States and throughout the world.
The plenary session was highlighted by an address presented by Dr. Robert S. Youngquist, Columbia, Mo. Dr. Youngquist was the 2001 recipient of the David E. Bartlett Award. His comments on members of the profession who had influenced his career and the career of other theriogenologists provided an appropriate introduction for the scientific abstracts competition. More than 40 abstracts were submitted for the competition, and the eight abstracts judged as having the highest scientific quality were presented at the conference.
Dr. Grant Frazer, Columbus, Ohio, was the moderator for the popular abstract sessions. First place and winner of the Jerry Rains Memorial Graduate Student Abstract Award was Dr. Milan Hess, Littleton, Colo. Her abstract was titled "The effects of prostaglandin F2a, oxytocin, and gonadotropin releasing hormone on ejaculate characteristics in the dog." Additional winners included Dr. Allison C. Lindsey, Fort Collins, Colo., second place; Dr. Sherrie G. Clark, Urbana, Ill., third place; and Dr. Elida Fumoso, Tandil, Argentina, fourth place. Each winner received a monetary award.
Presentations at the conference spanned the range of theriogenology interests. Sessions in the food animal track provided the latest information on reproduction and control of the reproductive cycle in cattle. The equine track included the newest techniques for use in improving reproductive performance in mares and stallions as well as an update on the mare reproductive loss syndrome in Kentucky. The small animal track focused on factors that influence reproduction in dogs and the use of artificial insemination and other techniques to improve canine reproduction.
Another highlight of the conference was the David E. Bartlett address. The society honored Dr. Patricia Olson (MIN '70), a past president of the ACT, with the 2002 Bartlett Award.
As an AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellow, Dr. Olson investigated potential causes of Gulf War syndrome and designed a study for evaluating the effect of reproductive toxins on military personnel. When she served as director of veterinary affairs and studies for the American Humane Association, she addressed the connection between animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. She is a recognized expert on the human-animal bond and founded many programs that foster it, from preventing animal and child abuse to promoting humane dog training methods.
Dr. Olson is currently director of Canine Health and Training Operations with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc., a national nonprofit that provides skilled guide dogs and training in their use, free of charge, to visually impaired people. She recently co-authored a textbook called "Canine and Feline Theriogenology."
Dr. Olson provided attendees with a thought-provoking discourse on the discipline of theriogenology. Her presentation, "Creating the future—for our clients, patients, students, and profession," challenged theriogenologists to confront issues associated with a rapidly changing profession, from providing service to clients to attracting new veterinarians to the discipline.
In addition to the many educational offerings during the conference, 189 participants registered for three symposia that preceded or followed the conference. The Toxicology Symposium, consisting of eight lectures and a panel discussion, provided valuable information about effects of toxicants on reproduction. The Bull Breeding Soundness Symposium consisted of 11 lectures and a wet lab to improve the participants' diagnostic evaluation of bulls, bull semen, and reproductive outcomes. The Technician/Breeders Symposium included 16 lectures and a wet lab that elucidated the estrous cycle of bitches and provided hands-on use of the techniques and equipment used to improve fertility in male and female dogs.
Three new members were elected to serve three-year terms on the executive board of the society. They are Dr. Tom Riddell, Lexington, Ky.; Dr. Carlos A. Risco, Gainesville, Fla.; and Dr. Ahmed Tibary, Pullman, Wash. New officers of the society are Dr. Gary C. Althouse, Kennett Square, Pa., president; Dr. Fred D. Lehman, Kalamazoo, Mich., president-elect; Dr. Dwight F. Wolfe, Auburn, Ala., vice president; and Dr. James H. Alexander, Yazoo City, Miss., immediate past president. Elected to another one-year term was Dr. Walter Zent, Lexington, Ky., secretary-treasurer.
The next annual meeting of the society will be held Sept. 16-20, 2003, in Columbus, Ohio, in conjunction with the annual meetings of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and American College of Theriogenologists.