Announcing a new Veterinarian

Dr. Kelli Ruther, originally from Clinton, Iowa, attended Iowa State University for her undergraduate studies where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. Following graduation, she worked for Nestle Purina PetCare for a couple of years before returning to Iowa State where she graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. Dr. Kelli enjoys working with both large and small animals with special interests in internal medicine, ophthalmology, small animal nutrition, feedlot medicine, small ruminants, and pot-bellied pigs.

Outside of work, Dr. Kelli enjoys spending time with her husband, Ben and their son, Rylan. She also enjoys running, gardening, and helping with their hobby farm.

BVD-PI: A Hidden Problem

What if we were to tell you that there is a silent killer that could be lurking in a “perfectly healthy” calf? This calf could be normal in appearance and performance, but have detrimental effects even in the face of vaccinating for every disease. I’m talking about calves that are persistently infected with Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus – or as it is more commonly referred, BVD-PI.

BVD-PI calves are the result of the dam becoming exposed to the virus before the fetal immune system is developed with the highest risk being in a nonvaccinated or open herd. This is usually before 125 days in gestation. The result is a calf that is born with BVD virus and secretes said virus for the entirety of its life. This calf, if it survives -and some do, will serve as a source of BVD virus for any other cattle in its surroundings. This is a problem to other animals as BVD virus suppresses immunity to those that are exposed to it.

How do you know if it is affecting your herd? And how can I find it and eliminate it? First, testing is fairly simple and straight forward. A small ear notch from an animal of any age submitted to a diagnostic lab can identify whether or not an animal is BVD-PI positive. There are specialized labs all over the country that are able to quickly, accurately, and affordably diagnose the PI status of a sample. Your veterinarians at RFVS can help you with sampling, diagnostic lab selection, and shipping.

Those experiencing lower than expected pregnancy rates, abortions, birth defects, very low birth weights, and overall poor calf health should consider BVD-PI testing the affected calves. In the feedlot setting, a pen that continues to have pneumonia issues with high treatment or death rates should be considered for whole pen testing.

BVD-PI Stats

  • Feedlot pens with a BVD-PI calf experienced a 43% higher treatment rate.
  • Beef calves exposed directly to a BVD-PI calf had a 20% lower average daily gain.
  • Researchers estimate 1% of U.S. born calves are BVD-PI. Approximately half of those die, leaving 0.5% of the calf crop to serve as vectors for the disease.
  • A study of 1900 chronic cattle found a nearly 4% BVD-PI rate.

I’d imagine we’ve created more questions than answers; your veterinarians at RFVS are well equipped to answer those questions. If you are having issues with any of these described situations, take an ear notch and bring it to one of our offices, we will be happy to get the ball rolling to improving your herds health.

Thank You

We don’t say it nearly enough, but we are grateful every day for our amazing clients!

Especially at this time of year when we are all full of love and gratitude we want to say THANK YOU and let you know how much we appreciate your business throughout 2019.

We take your suggestions to heart and want to thank you for your feedback on our producer survey. With that said, we are excited to announce small animal services coming to our Maquoketa Clinic starting January 23rd, 2020. Every Thursday we will be seeing our dog and cat friends in Maquoketa for routine vaccines, wellness, and non urgent ailments.

As calving season approaches and we start to plan for the next breeding season, we would like you to come to us for your Artificial Insemination needs, whether it’s one cow or your entire herd. Let us help you set up your time breeding this spring.

We hope that you all had a happy and healthy holiday season. We look forward to your continued business in 2020.

Year in Review Timeline

2019 has been a year of BIG change around the clinic!

  • January 2019- Happy New Year and Happy Retirement to our founder Dr. Dale Risius.
  • January 30th – The Polar Vortex hits and we take our FIRST EVER snow day.
  • February 4th – Dr. Mike Slattery speaks at the Advanced Calving Clinic in Maquoketa.
  • February 24th – Held a retirement celebration for Dale’s 48 years in Veterinary Medicine.
  • March 9 – Dr. Skye Doerscher and Dr. Collin Post become the newest owners at Risius Family Veterinary Service.
  • March 12th – Bookkeeper Ashlee added Large Animal Manager to her roles in both clinics.
  • May 21st – Dr. Joel and Dr. Abby celebrated 12 years in practice.
  • June 22 – Registered Technician Catlin and her husband Ethan welcomed into their family their daughter Evelyn Pearl.
  • July 12th – Dr Abby’s daughters Amelia, Cleo, Miriam, and Hannah held a lemonade stand to raise money for QC Paws.
  • August 10th – Our beloved Marvin is in a Tractor accident, we are happy to report he is back home and doing GREAT!
  • August 26th – Welcome Technician Lauren to our Eldridge family.
  • September 30th – Welcome Katie Luksetich as our new Practice Manager.
  • October 16th – We celebrated our hard working assistants for tech week.
  • November 6th – Dr. Mike and wife Janell welcomed their son Anson Michael to their family.
  • November 15th – Welcome Dr. Kelli Ruther to our Risius Family.
  • November 29th – Dr. Kim Lehman had her last day with RFVS, she is moving on to new adventures!
  • December 2019 – New Exam rooms in Eldridge and the addition of small animal services in Maquoketa!