Palpation Team Places First in National Competition

SCAVMA Palpation.2016
Front Row L to R: Dr. Jennifer Koziol, Theriogenology Resident, Kaidy Richardson, Shaina Wheatley, Jackson Trescott, Dr. Julie Gard. Back Row L to R: Grady Coefield, Wesley Snell, Joshua Tyler.

The College of Veterinary Medicine palpation team brought home first place honors at the Student American Veterinary Medical Association’s (SAVMA) Bovine Palpation Competition during at the 2016 Student Symposium, held last month at Iowa State University.

“I’m just incredibly proud of them. They’ve worked extremely hard this past year, and their achievement is a great culmination of all their work,” said Dr. Julie Gard, a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and the team’s adviser.

The team was one of 20 who competed in the competition, and since 2000, Auburn’s teams have placed first in 10 symposiums, the most of any veterinary program.

The Palpation Team in front of the Carson Barn, named for the late Dr. Bob Carson, one of Auburn’s most renowned theriogenologists.

The 2016 Palpation Team are:

  • Grady Coefield, Cadiz, Ky.
  • Wesley Snell, Skipperville, Ala.
  • Jackson Trescott, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Shaina Wheatley, Hawesville, Ky.
  • Kaidy Richardson, Monticello, Ky.
  • Joshua Tyler, Adairville, Ky.

The competition was conducted in three sessions over three days. The first round was a two-hour written exam about palpation, the second covered practical exams in reproductive tracts, ultrasound and a timed artificial insemination (AI), and the final round was a live cow palpation. Twelve teams advanced to the second round, and eight competed in the final round.

Auburn’s winning team was assembled more than a year ago and has practiced continuously, both as a group and individually.

“When we were first told we made the team, we started slow, meeting about once every other week. As things ramped up, we met once a week, and palpated for at least two hours each time,” said Wesley Snell, a member of the team who competed in the timed AI portion of the competition. “Over the summer, we worked on cattle farms where we could practice palpation. It was a lot of work.”

To be a member of Auburn’s team, students are required take an elective course during their second year, “Advanced Large Animal Reproduction,” taught by Dr. Gard; be a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP); and have the top scores on a written exam.

All of the team members are in their third academic year of veterinary education.

“Auburn is known for its Theriogenology program. We’ve had legendary vets like Dr. Robert Walker, the late Dr. Bob Carson, and Dr. Dwight Wolfe. It’s great that we’re a part of and carrying on that tradition. It’s an awesome feeling,” said Grady Cofield, who competed in the live cow palpation.

Dr. Gard thanked Dr. Gatz Riddell, professor emeritus who began the winning tradition in 1998. The first palpation competition and team was instituted in 1996.

The national competition was sponsored by the Society for Theriogenologists.

(Written by Ed Brown)