Congress 2015 Report
This year marks the first time that the annual congress was held under the auspices of the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa. For 2015 RuVASA
chose the theme “Vets in One Health” with a view to building on the findings of the OIE report on the provision of veterinary services in South Africa, and
subsequent actions taken to implement its recommendations. In particular RuVASA believes that it is imperative that we strengthen and improve the
working relationship and harmony between the private and public sectors. This is particularly the legally proclaimed Controlled and Notifiable diseases but
also all other aspects of animal health and production that affect livestock profitability.
As part of this initiative a whole range of papers were given to deal with these matters and three whole sessions were devoted to subjects where both the
state and private sectors are involved. A crucial part was three sessions over the three days where the private and state vets from each province discussed
and identified issues, problems and solutions affecting them. The establishment of an Animal Health ineach province which tackle and solve the problems
together is the ultimate goal. A veterinary strategy for South Africa is to be formalized by DAFF and RuVASA was invited to be part of this very important process.
Dairy cattle compromise a major part of many private practices and in the dairy sessions it was concentrated on lameness as a key issue needing a
coordinated response and management approach to minimise its affects. We were privileged to have local and overseas experts who gave guidelines
on how this should be done. Other issues such as mastitis and calf rearing were covered. Veterinary education is set to change in important ways and
this will affect many veterinarians both in state and private practice, as will the phasing in of Compulsory Community Service in 2016. Participants were
updated and informed of the latest developments. Two important Controlled diseases of sheep, namely Sheep Scab and Ovine Johne’s Disease are of
concern countrywide and were covered appropriately. The prospect of a much improved heartwater vaccine is now close to reality and participants were
informed of the latest developments.
For beef cattle the congress concentrated on harnessing and improving the contribution of bulls optimally and both
local and overseas experts gave valuable information that will assist practitioners to render the best services to their clients. Bovine brucellosis has become
a major concern and the contributions on this aspect will assist us to construct appropriate systems to minimise risks. Students were also involved and
presented posters dealing with important Controlled Diseases for the livestock industry.
Our supporters in the pharmaceutical industry were there in full force and without their support this congress could not have taken place. A special word of
thanks to Hipra, our main sponsor, Boehringer-Ingelheim, registration sponsor and MSD, student sponsor.
Zoetis won the BEST EXHIBITOR award and the delegates were treated at their stand! Feedback from the delegates were extremely positive.
There were 160 vets, 18 students and 80 trade delegates in attendance. The bull workshop was attended by another 27 veterinarians. All these arrangements
and contributions are the result of major efforts from a large team working in harmony. Our thanks go first to all our supporters in the Pharmaceutical
Industry who together made the Congress financially feasible, and secondly to all the speakers for their contributions without which there could be
no congress. Then there are the Session Coordinators Danie Odendaal and Gordon Adam for the Dairy sessions; Willem Schultheiss and Steven Hughes for the Beef sessions; Sunelle Strydom for the Vets in One Health sessions; and Dietmar Holm and Faffa Malan for overall coordination and assistance.
Finally the key role of the Congress Organisers Vetlink, in particular Madaleen Schultheiss and Michelle Jordaan, without whose professional help and guidance
the congress would not have been possible.
Prof Gareth Bath (Scientific Programme Coordinator)