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Veterinary Voices April 2012

The Ultimate Sheep Tender

The ordinary public often views celebrities as unreachable. Movie star sightings occur by chance, and the only time we converse with politicians is during parades when candidates shake our hands in hopes of securing votes. These encounters lack substance and value.

Yet, G.F. Kennedy, affectionately known as “Doc Kennedy” or “Doctor Kennedy” is a celebrity in his own right. One who touches the lives of ordinary people in very substantial ways. One who has garnered recognition despite never asking for a vote.

Kennedy’s 2012 Camptender Award is the product of passion, com-passion and influence. Recognized for his service and commitment to the sheep industry, Kennedy received one of four awards granted by the American Sheep Industry Association during their annual meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Camptender Award is presented to a professional who significantly impacts the sheep industry in a positive and long-lasting way. By definition, a camp tender is one who watches over and supervises those who care for sheep on a ranch or farm. Kennedy has taken this one step further and acts as a sounding board for sheep producers all across America.

Kennedy’s first commitment to the sheep industry began with a simple choice to pursue veterinary science over ag education. Along the way, his formal education and his own challenges and triumphs as a sheep producer merged, making Kennedy a nationally recognized expert in sheep health and production.

But Kennedy hasn’t settled into his role nonchalantly. Over the years, he has mentored veterinary students, developed nutritional products for lambs and sheep and has led the way in issues regarding overall sheep health care. Additionally, he has grown alongside the changing needs of the industry. And, this, perhaps, is one of his most significant contributions.

When he realized that veterinary expertise and advice was missing for many sheep and goat producers due to geo-graphic restrictions, Kennedy created a catalog and website dedicated to goat and sheep products. Pipestone Vet Clinic is alone in com-piling such complete information and providing it to the public in a succinct and easy to understand way.

He also puts himself out there, encouraging sheep producers to contact him personally so he could share his expertise with those in need. During the course of a day, Kennedy fields questions via old-fashioned telephone calls, as well as through emails and text messages.

More recently, he took on the social net-working arena of Face-book where he has over 1,100 friends who turn to him for advice on sheep production, lamb care, nutrition and veterinarian care. By his own admission, Kennedy wants to help others by correlating what he knows in a way that helps others better their production. His own goal defines him and his actions. Without his willingness to pass down his knowledge and experience, many sheep tenders—and their sheep—would struggle.

This makes Kennedy the ultimate sheep tender, and well-deserving of the prestigious Camp-tender Award.


Regaining Health: Sheba’s Story

Despite regular check-ups, eleven-year-old Sheba became ill. About eight months ago, the otherwise healthy cat lost weight and energy despite eating more than usual.

She no longer played with her puppy pal, Cuddles, and spent much of her day sleeping. “She was hungry all the time, but still lost half her body weight,” owner, Violet Fiedler, said. Fiedler worried it was either cancer or parasites and brought Sheba in to see Dr. Nicole Weber.

Another symptom the Fiedlers noted was occasional vomiting. This can indicate several illnesses and a thorough exam was needed to rule out underlying issues such as inflammatory bowel disease.

After some blood work, Sheba was diagnosed with a thyroid problem.

Initially, she refused to swallow her pills and the veterinarian had to find an alternative treatment plan.

The solution was a salve placed on the inside of Sheba’s ear two times each day. Fiedler explained that the only way Sheba tolerates this invasion is to feed her canned cat food. Prior to her illness, she had dined on ordinary dry cat food.

Before crating Sheba for the ride home, Fiedler had some words of advice. “If you notice some-thing different, you have to get your pets in right away—before it’s too late. Thanks to Doctor Weber, Sheba is okay.” Sheba had nothing to add, yet one look at the happy feline tells it all. She is back up to ten pounds and her coat glistens a creamy white. Best of all, she’s back to rough-housing with her canine companion.


Hyperthyroidism in Cats

According to Dr. Weber, the hallmark symptoms of hyperthyroidism in felines are marked weight loss and vomiting.

As vomiting can be caused by secondary problems from diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes or thyroid disease, it is essential that owners bring this to the attention of their vets. Thyroid disease is treated with medication to help slow the cat’s over-active thyroid. While most often taken in pill form, a medicated gel can also be applied to the inner aspect of the ear where it is absorbed. Once regulated, most cats return to their happy lifestyles.


PVC Named Business of the Year

On January 31st, the Pipestone Chamber of Commerce held its 85th Year End Social and Meeting. Dr. Jay Bobb was in attendance. He returned to PVC with an award plaque in hand.

For their outstanding support of the Chamber and the local community, the Pipestone Veterinary Clinic had been named the 2011 Pipe-stone Chamber Business of the Year.

Two major areas of support included $1,154.16 to the SW MN Honor Flight and $4,540.95 for Relay for Life. An additional $2,000 was donated via the Rib Feed and $800 was raised for a military project at Christmastime. Other sums seem small by comparison, but when added together they helped push PVC’s annual donation to nearly $9,000.

This total does not include ribbon auctions at local county fairs, where youth from Pipestone, Lyon, Rock, Jackson and Stevens counties find themselves at the receiving end of PVC’s generosity.

While some of their contributions can be counted in dollars and pennies, not all of PVC’s support is monetary. In fact, the SW MN Honor Flight donation began with $50 of seed money. PVC staff donated the cash and prepared treats, which were then bought by co-workers. Time and energy, as well as personal money, went into preparing this elaborate fundraiser.

This boundless energy and creativity helps PVC staff give back to their community in non-monetary ways. They walk ditches, serve meals at the annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner and collect food for the food shelf. They work tirelessly to care for their local animals and the communities in which these animals live.


Internal Swine Specialist Marty Rost Brings Experience to New Position

Realizing a gap in service, Pipestone System and PVC created a new position to answer the most pressing questions regarding swine production and all that entails. In February, Marty donned a new title: Internal Swine Specialist. Marty began his journey with a degree in Animal Science from South Dakota State University. He also minored in chemistry, adding further value to his career path which includes over sixteen years of production experience. After a decade of managing a 2,500-head sow farm for Prairie View, Marty took on a new challenge: production supervisor. For the past six years, he oversaw eight farms for Pipestone System. His extensive knowledge in the swine industry and his hands-on experience made Marty a viable candidate for the swine specialist position.

In his role, Marty will split his time in house—answering swine questions over the phone—and in the field, where he will continue working with sow farm orders and nutrient management sales. He states, “The clinic has grown in size and there was a need for improved communication and services.” Communication and service is something Marty knows well. He’s active within his community as a school board member and as a volunteer EMT. Additionally, he puts his second minor to use by coaching elementary basketball.  When he’s not cheering on his team or rooting for the Vikings, Marty enjoys spending time outdoors with his family. His wife, Andrea, and their three children hang out at the lake when time and weather permit.

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