CVM Holds International Descriptive Veterinary Pathology Course

The 25th annual international Descriptive Veterinary Pathology course was held at the College of Veterinary Medicine June 20-25, with participants from as far as South Africa to participate in active learning exercises and take mock gross and histopathology exams.

The conference, part of the Charles Louis Davis and Samuel Wesley Thompson DVM Foundation, had attendees from many countries ranging from fourth-year veterinary students to experienced working pathologists. Instructors Paul Stromberg (emeritus, The Ohio State University), Jey Koehler (Auburn University), Erin Ball (Joint Pathology Center) and Chuck Halsey (AU CVM 2007, Pfizer) led the conference, lectures and mock exams.

The course, which helps trainees learn new pathology descriptive techniques, improve current techniques and prepare for the certifying exam, focuses on helping anatomic pathology trainees develop and refine their descriptive style for gross and microscopic lesions in a variety of major organs in numerous animal species, said Dr. Jey Koehler, assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology.

The course also offers introduction to the interpretation and description of electron micrographs, immunohistochemical stains and cytology.

“Having an Auburn faculty member as director of this internationally-recognized conference enhances the visibility and prestige of the Auburn CVM in the world veterinary community, particularly the pathology community,” Dr. Koehler said.

“The opportunity to host attendees from all over the country and from other countries gives us a chance to show off the outstanding new teaching and clinical facilities that we are so fortunate to have,” Dr. Koehler said. “Many attendees told me that their perception of Auburn was greatly enhanced after having a chance to spend time here. “

Written and oral descriptive techniques, lectures on interpretation and description of electron micrographs and immunohistochemical preparations, the correlation of gross and microscopic lesions, and correlation of cytology and histopathology specimens were all topics of discussion at this year’s conference.

“We have so much to be proud of with regard to facilities, but also for the amazing financial and personnel support for the conference from Dean Johnson, Pathobiology department head Dr. (Russ) Cattley, and events coordinator Kris Street and her student helpers Megan Hesson (AUCVM 2018) and Rachel Burt (AUCVM 2018),” Dr. Koehler said.

Although internet-based sources of knowledge and repositories of pathology images have created a historically unprecedented level of information sharing, the Charles Louis Davis and Samuel Wesley Thompson DVM Foundation believes that the real-time human interaction and the unique philosophical perspective and experience shared by the instructors at the Descriptive Veterinary Pathology Course makes the course an essential resource for trainees.

The foundation’s mission is to further the international advancement of education in veterinary and comparative pathology. Through a variety of outreach educational programs, the foundation strives to advance the study of the diseases of animals and the comparison of diseases manifested by diverse species of animals.

For more information on the Charles Louis Davis and Samuel Wesley Thompson DVM Foundation and its courses and conferences, visit

Written by: Molly Lawrence