Presidents Message

Dr. Pat Gorden

You Ever Wonder Why?

In the grind of my weekly schedule, I often wonder what value the activities have on my clients, students and my overall c
areer satisfaction. Every year as it gets to the end of the academic summer, I get pretty worn out trying to get everything done before school starts again and I lose my summer help. During this time of the year, I really question why I do what I do and tell myself that if I did something else, I’d have more free time and certainly be happier with life.

However, I have come to learn that there are those small examples that make me appreciate my job. It’s the student who stands in front of an audience with a glow on her face while stating that she has mastered a procedure that she struggled with and gives you thanks for perseverance and patience in teaching. It’s that farm owner who thanks you for your input, even though they don’t always implement it, but he appreciates your contributions to his herd’s health and business.

Or it’s the appreciation of a farm’s employee. On Friday, my wife and I were driving out to western Iowa for a little time off when I received a picture from the hospital manager on one of my farms. After looking at the picture, I didn’t think it was anything too severe, despite a large number of animals being involved. My concern escalated a little when the owner called and shared that milk production for the pen in question was down over 15%. He also wanted me to come over and look things over and confirm my diagnosis. To understand the context of the situation, this farm is not close to my house, so you can imagine my thoughts. Nonetheless, I took off early Saturday morning to meet up with the hospital manager and review treatment procedures.

When I get to the farm, the farm’s manager and assistant manager are both already there. When I get into the office, they thanked me for coming, saying “Pat, we’ve never seen this before and we’re really concerned.” Their concern made me doubt my diagnosis, but after walking through the cows, the diagnosis was correct. But it was the sheer volume of animals affected from this relatively minor issue that stoked their concern. As we were wrapping up the treatment approach, the hospital manager thanked me for coming over on a weekend as he was really concerned because he had never seen this before. It was that young man’s small expression of appreciation that made the day worthwhile and proved to myself, once again, that this is why I do this job.

As we’ve become more aware of the mental health challenges in veterinary medicine, I have had the opportunity to listen to many experts talk on the subject. Through that, I’ve adjusted my way of thinking to try to always look for the good things in life and concentrate on the issues that I can change. Now I do a much better job of acknowledging the tokens of appreciation that arise. I hope that all of you can find these small things in your practice and in life that will continue to inspire you to remain happy in bovine practice. If not, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Another event that recharges me each year is AABP’s Annual Conference. The theme for this year’s meeting in Long Beach, Calif., is “Gathering the Herd”. It is meant to symbolize what we hope will be the re-growth in attendance at the annual meeting, following the previous years’ challenges with COVID and social unrest. Drs. Godden and Capel and the program committee have again put together another excellent lineup of continuing education offerings. As I close this message, I want to encourage everyone to attend the meeting, take a look at participating in a preconference seminar or clinical forum, or become active in the committee structure of AABP. If you do attend, please remember to book your hotel rooms in the AABP block of hotels. When we schedule meetings, the organization must guarantee a minimum number of nights in conference hotels. If we don’t secure that minimum number, there is a large monetary penalty to the organization. The annual meeting is our biggest contribution to our mission of being a continuing education organization, but the organization has a large financial risk associated with putting it on every year. I ask that we all do our part to help lessen that risk and stay in the conference hotels.

If you have any questions about the process of scheduling the annual meeting or how to get more involved with AABP, please feel free to reach out to myself or Dr. Gingrich.

Thank you for all you do for bovine veterinary medicine!

Stay safe.
Dr. Pat Gorden