American Kennel Club Sponsored by Royal Canin
Winter 2014
New Theriogenology Residencies Now Offered at Three US Vet Schools
Pictured with Lily, a three-year old Labrador Retriever who is part of Auburn's detector dog breeding program, is Dr. Anita Migday, president of the Theriogenology Foundation; and Daryl Hendricks, chief operating officer of the American Kennel Club. Back row: Dr. Ira Kaplan, Dean Calvin Johnson and Dr. Charles F. Franz, executive director of The Theriogenology Foundation.
The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine recently added new residencies in reproductive medicine for companion animals with the support of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Theriogenology Foundation. The residencies will provide specialty training in all aspects of reproductive medicine and surgery, as well as all features of clinical practice related to male and female reproduction, obstetrics and neonatology in companion animals.

Theriogenology is often seen as an ancillary service in veterinary medicine, and few clinics offer the services of a reproductive specialist, which is why the AKC decided to invest in training more veterinarians in this field. 

“The AKC and the Theriogenology Foundation recognize a joint commitment to breeding as an invaluable tool for the continued improvement of the genetic health of dogs,” said Alan Kalter, AKC's chairman. “We are thrilled to establish this program, which we hope will bear a greater understanding of and respect for the purpose-bred dog.”

“Since 1884, the American Kennel Club has recognized that ancestry is the tool that best predicts a dog’s health, temperament and working skills,” said Dr. Anita Migday, president of the Theriogenology Foundation board. “Now, in 2014, the AKC is investing in the next generation of veterinary specialists who will merge science and breeding practices to accelerate improvements in canine health and predictability.”

UC Davis theriogenology specialists Drs. Autumn Davidson, Ghislaine Dujovne (holding dogs) and Bruce Christensen (in blue shirt) join Anita Migday and Charles Franz, representatives of the Theriogenology Foundation, who along with the AKC, have supported a new Theriogenology Residency at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
“This will be one of the first theriogenology residencies in the nation with a companion animal focus,” said Dr. David Wilson, director of UC Davis' Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH). “The AKC and the Theriogenology Foundation are making a significant financial commitment to train people to address real societal needs.”

Not only will the residents receive specialty instruction in all aspects of reproductive medicine, the resident will also rotate through the surgery service and be jointly supervised by board-certified surgeons and theriogenologists. Such training will qualify the resident to perform surgery when necessary.

Board certification in theriogenology requires experience with multiple species, explained Dr. Bruce Christensen, chief of the Small Animal Theriogenology Service at the VMTH. The resident will receive on-site and off-site training with enthusiastic collaborators in private practice to gain all necessary experience and skills. The resident will also spend two months of the two-year program working with farm animals in the VMTH's Livestock Herd Health and Reproduction Service; another two months will be spent with the VMTH's Equine Reproduction Service.

“Training residents in various specialties is the responsibility of institutions like UC Davis. Until this year, small animal theriogenology residencies have been very rare, which is why the AKC and Theriogenology Foundation have funded this,” Dr. Christensen said. “These specialists play a key role in responsible breeding and should be experts in the field to make the best decisions for their patients.”

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine
The initial philanthropic investment of $100,000, made through the Auburn University Foundation, will support one resident for three years and provide specialty training in all aspects of veterinary reproductive medicine and surgery.

“This new residency program for companion animals will expand our nationally recognized programs in theriogenology and reproductive system research and education,” said Dr. Calvin Johnson, dean of the Auburn veterinary college. “Nearly 50 years ago, Auburn faculty made pioneering contributions in equine and bovine reproduction and this new residency program will accelerate the advancement of the excellent work our small animal theriogenologists are currently involved in.

“The AKC and the Theriogenology Foundation are making a significant financial commitment to train veterinarians to address this important discipline and we look forward to expanding research, education and clinical practice in small animal reproduction,” Dr. Johnson said.

The resident will work closely with Dr. Robyn Wilborn, Dr. Aime Johnson and Dr. Julie Gard, as well as Dr. James Floyd, interim director of the Animal Health and Performance Program.

“Auburn’s reputation stands alone in the field of theriogenology,” Dr. Wilborn said, naming faculty like Dr. Robert Hudson and Dr. Donald Walker, who brought worldwide recognition for excellence in bovine medicine as early as the mid-1960s, and current faculty Dr. Robert Carson, Jr. and Dr. Dwight Wolfe, both of whom have been awarded the Society for Theriogenology’s highest honor, the David E. Bartlett Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theriogenology.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is also currently creating a similar residency with the support of the American Kennel Club and the Theriogenology Foundation.