Disease Du Jour Episode 16: Dr. Craig Barnett on the Merck Respiratory Biosurveillance Program

The Merck Equine Respiratory Biosurveillance Program released 10 years of key findings earlier this year.
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Dr. Craig Barnett

Dr. Craig Barnett is the Director of the Equine Veterinary Professional Services segment at Merck Animal Health.

Welcome to EquiManagement’s podcast Disease Du Jour, where each podcast will delve into the research and current best practices for a variety of equine health problems with industry experts.

You can also listen to or download episodes of Disease Du Jour on iTunes, SoundCloudStitcher, or your favorite podcast platform. 

This episode’s guest is Dr. Craig Barnett, Director of the Equine Veterinary Professional Services segment at Merck Animal Health, to talk about the Merck Equine Respiratory Biosurveillance program and what it means to veterinarians, researchers and the horse industry. That program is celebrating its 11th anniversary in 2019 and earlier this year released 10 years of information gleaned from this program.

Barnett, who has been a horse owner and equine enthusiast his entire life, received his DVM from the University of Missouri. After graduation, he owned an equine/small animal veterinary practice in Spring Hill, Kansas. After a few years, he began his career as an equine technical services veterinarian in the pharmaceutical industry. Barnett is the Director of the Equine Veterinary Professional Services segment of Merck Animal Health, helping to guide practitioners and educate horse owners on ways to better care for horses.

Barnett is involved in a number of equine industry boards and committees, including the Kansas Horse Council Board of Directors, Equine Land Conservation Resource Board of Directors and American Horse Council Health & Regulatory Committee. Barnett has served on many AAEP committees, including as Chair of the AAEP Serology Task Force.

Barnett boards several retired horses on his ranch in Paola, Kansas, and he enjoys driving a team of horses and trail riding.

This podcast includes this quote from Dr. Nicola Pusterla, who leads the University of California, Davis, Equine Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, where program samples are submitted and analyzed:

“When we started this program, we had no idea how much we would gain over this period. The study has increased awareness of respiratory pathogens in the veterinary community, provided invaluable epidemiological information pertaining to common and less characterized respiratory pathogens, and provided sequencing of equine influenza virus isolates to monitor how the virus is changing in the field and to evaluate and improve the efficacy of vaccines. What Merck Animal Health has done is—and will remain—an unmatched service to the entire U.S. equine community.”

In this podcast we cover:

  • the history of the Merck Animal Health Biosurveillance Program
  • top clinical findings
  • who is involved, from vets to researchers
  • the fact that more than 8,200 samples have been taken to focus on these diseases
    • equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1)
    • equine herpesvirus-4 (EHV-4)
    • equine influenza virus (EIV)
    • Streptococcus equi subspecies equi
    • equine rhinitis A virus (ERAV)
    • equine rhinitis B virus (ERBV)
  • results provided within 24 hours, which
    • provides a timely and accurate diagnosis for their contact
    • allows vets to prescribe optimal treatment for horses with infectious upper respiratory disease
    • provides important information for making recommendations about vaccination, management and biosecurity during an infectious respiratory disease outbreak-including the potential need for quarantine
    • lets researchers evaluate the efficacy of the current vaccination protocol
  • 10 years of key findings were released earlier this year
  • a bi-annual newsletter is sent as a value-added service to clinics enrolled in the program

Previous Episodes of Disease Du Jour

Episode 15 - Raul Bras, Raul Bras, DVM, CJF (Certified Journeyman Farrier), a shareholder in Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, talks about veterinarian-farrier relationships. Bras' professional focus is on equine podiatry, and he travels from his home base in Lexington throughout the country and the world. He is the 2019 president of the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners.

Episode 14 - Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM, MS, is a National Equine Epidemiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services. She discussed EIA.

Episode 13 - Michele L. Frazer, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, is an Associate veterinarian at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. She discussed diarrhea in adult horses and foals.

Episode 12 - Jack Easley, DVM, MS, DABVP, DAVDC (Eq), is the owner of Easley Equine Dentistry based in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Easley talks about how much has changed in equine dentistry, the wide variety of dental diseases horses can have, the need for a good dental exam with the right tools, the use of radiographs, and what horse owners expect today in equine dental care.

Episode 11 - This episode—featuring Drs. Ernie Bailey, of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky, and Samantha Brooks of the University of Florida—covers the topic of Genes as Management Tools. We discuss how genetics touches equine veterinarians on a day-to-day basis; adaptation and evolution; fragile foal syndrome; OCD; roaring; reproduction; and infectious disease.

Episode 10 - Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM, MS, who is a National Equine Epidemiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services, discusses vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).

Episode 9 - Kent Allen, DVM, owner of Virginia Equine Imaging in Middleburg, Virginia, and co-founder of ISELP, discusses lameness diagnosis and ISELP.

Episode 8 – Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, DACVPM (epidemiology specialty), discusses biosecurity factors that equine veterinarians need to understand in order to best prevent and control disease spread on client farms.

Episode 7 – Martin Nielsen, DVM, PhD, DipEVPC, DACVM, one of the world’s leading equine parasitology researchers who is an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center. Nielsen discusses the value of checking the efficacy of dewormers; the evolution of parasites and the science surrounding them; recent papers on parasite modeling; evaluating parasite control programs, combination deworming practices and the science behind them—good and bad.

Episode 6 - Peter Timoney, MVB, MS, PhD, FRCVS, the Frederick Van Lennep Chair in Equine Veterinary Science and a Professor at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Timoney discusses equine infectious diseases, with a focus on factors that compromise normal pregnancy and the adolescent horse.

Episode 5 - Robert Holland, DVM, PhD, a private practice veterinarian in the Central Kentucky area focusing on respiratory problems and infectious diseases, talks about Respiratory Tips from the Field.

Episode 4 - Bonnie Barr, VMD, DACVIM, an internal medicine specialist at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky, talks about common neonatal problems in this podcast.

Episode 3 - Tom Chambers, PhD, who heads the OIE Reference Laboratory for equine influenza at the University of Kentucky, discusses equine influenza.

Episode 2 - Tom Riddle, DVM, DACT (hon), a founding partner of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, discusses breeding season procedures that he has developed over his decades-long practice.

Episode 1 - Steve Reed, DVM, DACVIM, of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, discusses equine herpesvirus and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy.

Listen to or download episodes of Disease Du Jour on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.

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