Animal Science has four key areas of research, Animal Health and Well-Being, Genetics and Genomics, Nutrition Physiology and Reproductive Physiology. Today we are highlighting a focus in the Reproductive Physiology area. Lew Strickland, Associate Professor and Extension Veterinarian with a focus in Theriogenology (Reproduction) will share his work with us.
As the Extension veterinarian, what are your responsibilities?
I have a unique position in that I am 66% Extension and 34 % CVM. For Extension, I am mostly education and basically consulting. I answer phone calls and emails from producers and Extension agents that mostly deal with herd health problems on their farm. I also conduct farm visits as requested and teach health modules at master producer meetings and field days. One of my ‘computer in office jobs’ is to write publications and magazine articles that provide information for agents and producers. I also have a drlew’s video channel and website that producers can send in questions.
What lead you to this career?
I was raised on a dairy farm and continued in the dairy business for about 25 years. We had limited availability of veterinary services, so I think my interest of the ‘what and why” of one of our animals being sick, as well as ‘ I want to be able to help other producers with similar problems’ is what lead me to this career. Another interest peak was in the 70-80’s there was a brucella eradication program that all cattle farms were required to participate in. I thought just watching the veterinarians come out and conduct the testing was the coolest thing ever.
What is a typical day like for you?
Something that helps to keep my job interesting is that I never know what each day is going to bring. Sure, I have things scheduled such as the meetings, or a guest lecture, but from there, I never know. I may receive phone calls/emails concerning cattle, horses, pigs, small ruminant, to small animal. These can be with an amazing amount of detail down to ‘hey Doc, I just found a cow dead, what do you think’? One of the favorite aspects of my position is being able to help that producer work out a solution to their problem. Also, teaching animal science students and CVM students. Watching that light bulb light up when I’m explaining a difficult concept to them makes it all worth it.
Where do you see your field in 10 years?
I’m always of the opinion that coming out to the farm and examining animals will continue to be the best The past couple of years with the changes COVID brought along will certainly bring about changes in vet med. Some regulations concerning disease diagnoses and dispensing medication have been relaxed to where I think video will play a bigger role in vet med. In some states, technicians are legally able to ultrasound reproductive tracts and send the images in to the veterinarian for diagnoses of conditions (similar to hospitals with U/S or Radiology technicians). Regardless of changes, I believe that a valid client patient relationship (VCPR) will always be essential to animal healthcare. This will also be necessary in some of the antibiotic regulations that will require the oversight of all antibiotics to veterinarians coming in 2023.