Thursday, 31 July 2014

Would you like to learn more about Vector-Borne Diseases in Pets?

We are happy to announce that the CVBD conference hosted of the Bayer HealthCare Animal Division is now available on-demand to provide access to leading case studies on pets and raises awareness on the importance of "One Health" and zoonotic approaches within the veterinary and public health fields.

Vector-borne disease is an important topic for Bayer. The Animal Health division hosted the 2014 Canine Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD) Web Conference to raise awareness about the diseases that can be transmitted by vectors between dogs and people.  This conference focused on case-studies in vector borne disease treatment, and the broader public health implications of zoonotic disease transmission.  Over 7,000 veterinarians and those interested in CVBDs, from 123 countries, registered online for the Bayer event. Broadcasted live from Barcelona, Spain, in six different languages (English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Russian), the 3rd CVBD Web Conference was formatted into two symposia: the first session was primarily designed for pet-focused veterinarians on key veterinarians on key clinical aspects of pet animals infected with e.g. Bartonella, Ehrlichia or Leishmania; and the second session was designed for a broad, medical and public health audience to raise awareness of “One Health” and the rising incidence of zoonotic diseases. The webconference is now available freely on-demand at

Supporting by the event’s digital format, the 3rd CVBD Web Conference also fielded questions live from the internet audience to a panel of leading veterinarians and public health professionals. And for the first time, the 3rd CVBD Web Conference also featured a live Twitter broadcast, utilizing the hashtags #CVBD and #OneHealth.

“We were pleased to invite veterinary students around the world to learn from global experts on vector-borne disease,” said Frederic Lohr, Immediate Past President and Trust Member of the International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA). “The digital format, supported by social media, provides our member’s access to the experts, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event.” 
“We are encouraged that over 7,000 participants, from over 130 different countries, showed their interest and engaged on this important public health topic,” said Professor Norbert Mencke, Global Head Veterinary Services, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health. “Together with representation from WSAVA, Leish Vet, (OTHERS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, important information about the spread of vector borne zoonotic disease was shared globally.”

About Canine Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD)
Canine vector-borne diseases (CVBD) are a growing international public health threat. These diseases, transmitted by blood-feeding ectoparasites, include ticks (Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and hemoplasmosis), fleas (canine bartonellosis and feline rickettsiosis), and sand flies (leishmaniosis).  They are known to veterinarians and public health professionals throughout the world and in some cases also have zoonotic consequences.

About the CVBD Web Conference
The CVBD web conference is supported by Bayer HealthCare Animal Health Division, a specialist in the field of parasite prevention. This 3rd CVBD web conference is designed to engage information seekers, experts and specialists in veterinary medicine, human health and medicine, and public health to raise scientific awareness of zoonosis, “One Health” and its global impact. More information at

Dominick Kennerson, Tel. +49 175 3014985

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Vet Students Around The World - Meet Ganendra Awang Kristandya

We think veterinary students are awesome! Together with the International Veterinary Students' Association, we are bringing you the stories of vet students around the world.

We are happy to introduce Ganendra Awang Kristandya! He is a vet student at Brawijaya University in Malang, Indonesia.

What’s your favorite animal? And why?

Generally, I try not to favor any particular animal over another. Though during my internship a few weeks ago, I fell in love with dairy cows. I found dairy cows to be large and huge, but gentle creatures, which makes them easy to love.  

Can you tell us about yourself?

I live in Malang, Indonesia. Malang is almost 800 kilometers west from Indonesia’s capitol city of Jakarta. And when I’m not studying in Malang’s beautiful country side, I enjoy reading, watching movies and spending time with friends. As a person, I like to see myself as being “anti-pessimistic.” I have an optimist’s view of the world. I believe that everyone has the ability to influence the world in a positive way and I believe that a part of being alive is each of us giving our own unique gift to the world. For me the pursuit of veterinarian medicine is one way in which I can positively influence the world. I have three passions, which actually support my leadership development in veterinary medicine, and I pursue these in my spare time: public speaking, advocacy for social movement, and research and writing.

Why did you decide to study veterinary medicine?

To answer that I would have to quote Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” In Indonesia, many people able to attend university or advanced studies are not thinking about veterinary medicine as a profession. There are actually few veterinarians in Indonesia and my pursuit of veterinary medicine in this country is rare. I chose vet medicine in Indonesia, because I feel as if I am helping to develop future capacity for my country.

What is it like to study veterinary medicine in your country?

Ganendra and his team won the Danamon Young Leaders Award last year for an
innovative business idea they developed.
As a developing nation, Indonesia faces many challenges especially in education. Infrastructure is an issue in veterinary medicine at times when it comes to books, tools and advanced instruments compared to country like United Kingdom or US. Becoming a Vet in Indonesia take 5 up to 6 years. From year 1 - 4 we have in-class study with several laboratory practices like microbiology, pathology, anatomy, virology, etc. After we finished our undergraduate thesis in year 4, then we obtain Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree. After that we continue our clinical study (we call it CoAssistant) for 1.5 up to 2 year to obtain our DVM. One of the best thing of becoming vet student in Indonesia is the kinship. So far, we have 10 Faculties of Veterinary Medicine around Indonesia yet we feel like we are one great family.  

Can you tell us one of your favorite “veterinary facts” or nugget of “vet advice”?
I once met a dog trainer, named “Marco,” that changed the way I perceived the human-animal relationship. Marco told me that when you are dealing with animals, you are dealing with special creatures. Animals seem to sense purpose and intention, especially from their handlers and veterinarians. For me, this means that some animals have no willingness to comply with the vet, while other animals do. When a vet has a pure willingness and reason to work with animals, then those animals will be kind to you.

What advice would you give people considering becoming a vet?

First, I would ask if they were sure about studying veterinary medicine. And if so, then I would have to let them know that they have to have a real willingness to study various animals and multiple subjects. I sometimes think people chose veterinary medicine because of one particular animal or subject, which may hurt the field. I would also encourage the attainment or achievement of a dream, or for someone to understand what goals they want to achieve by being a veterinarian. I would further advice on character traits for: willingness and persistence to achieve those goals. I also believe as a veterinarian it is important to pursue other passions and interests. Studying veterinary medicine is a lot of work and the most important thing I have learned is that when you are able to treat an animal in a way that is good, then you are able to treat humans in a good way. Finally, no matter how challenging the work, I relish the opportunity to become a vet and I would want to share this passion with people interested in veterinary medicine! 

Learn more about the International Veterinary Students' Association

Monday, 23 June 2014

Vet Students Around The World - Meet Jessica Smith

We think veterinary students are awesome! Together with the International Veterinary Students' Association, we are bringing you the stories of vet students around the world.

This time we are talking to Jessica Smith – a vet student at the North Carolina  State University, USA

What’s your favorite animal?
I would have to pick the dog. I have a one year-old golden retriever, named Casey, who I absolutely adore. I find that it's just so easy to love dogs. They are accessible, they are everywhere, they love people and they are easy to love back.

Tell us about yourself!
I’m from Eastern North Carolina and I’ve lived in North Carolina most of my life. After receiving my Bachelors of Science degree from North Carolina State University, I worked for about a year at the NC State University Dairy Farm. The University has a dairy farm, beef farm, pigs, sheep, goats and horses for the undergraduate student labs and I visited the farms as an undergraduate.  I found dairy cows fascinating and later got a job at the dairy farm and ever since, my focus as a vet has been Dairy Herd Health. I did not grow up on a farm, so my family was quite surprised when I decided to study food animal health. When I’m not learning and studying farm animals, I try to make time for my personal hobbies, which include: yoga, hiking, and of course I take my dog to the park all the time. I also love to travel. This summer, I am in the Netherlands doing veterinary research through a veterinary scholars program. 

Why did you decide to study veterinary medicine?
It may sound a bit cliché, but it was the first thing I said I wanted to be as I child, and I just followed that all of my life. Growing up and in high school, I developed a better understanding of health, medicine and problem solving and how all of those apply to the veterinary profession.  I chose to attend North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC because it is the only vet school in North Carolina (U.S.A.).

What is it like to study veterinary medicine in the United States?
Since being in Europe this summer I have had the opportunity to network with students from around the globe. And so far, I have learned that veterinary training in the United States is quite different from the rest of the world. In the United States, the typical pathway is an undergraduate degree, then a DVM. Some students work on PhDs or master degrees before or after the DVM as well.  At my school, our first 3 years of vet school are in the classroom, and our 4th and final year is doing clinical rotations in the hospital.  I am in a class of 100 and we will graduate in 4 years with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree.  It seems a lot of European schools have 5-6 year veterinary programs that students are able to enter right out of high school.  I understand it to be like a combined undergraduate/masters program, and they have more than one year on rotations.  Training to be a vet can be a lot of hard work and requires serious dedication. Despite the hard work though, the most important thing I have learned is that when you are working on something you love, it’s always fun!

What’s a cool "vet fact” or “vet tip” that you’ve learned?
The best piece of advice I ever heard was from a veterinarian that I worked with.  He was and old guy and ready to retire, but still very wise and passionate about veterinary medicine. He told me, “Make sure you have a hobby, something that will get you away from work and that can help you relax.” I always try to share this piece of advice with my friends and let them know that they should remember to make time for fun things.  Whether it's music, service work, the outdoors, or travel, you have to make space for it in your life! It’s important to do things out of the routine to keep one’s sanity.

What advice would you give people considering becoming a vet?
My best advice for people considering becoming a vet is try to find the perfect balance between focused and flexible.  It's important to be dedicated and stubborn, because there will be people along the way who won't believe in you and who won't support your plans.  But you also have to be willing to accept changes and make modifications to your grand plan.  If you had told me 10 years ago I would be studying food animal medicine, I would have never believed you.  But because I took a chance on a slight interest I had a few years ago, I found my passion.  So don't be so headstrong that you forget sometimes the wildest adventures come from being open minded and a willingness to try something new. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Better Farming Through Partnerships

A shared passion is a powerful impetus for synergies amongst the corporate sector, scientists and organizations towards achieving a common goal. At Bayer, our passion for animals has inspired us to engage with over 90 organizations around the world in three areas – supporting the efforts of animal focused organizations, educational and awareness outreach, and research towards helping improve animal health and well-being around the world.

It’s no secret that farming is hard work and it is getting even more difficult. At Bayer, we want to help farmers achieve better outcomes and this is why improving animal welfare is an important topic to us. The pressure faced by farmers today is mounting with the escalating demand for animal proteins amid dwindling land and energy resources, as well as impact on the environment. Adding to the host of challenges, consumers today increasingly expect higher food standards, even as they take more interest in the origins of their animal proteins and how animals are treated. This makes animal welfare more essential to good farming practices than ever before.

Sharing expertise alongside animal focused organizations
Bayer was pleased to partner with the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO) to co-organize the Livestock workshop at the WFO Annual General Assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March. The joint workshop organized along with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the International Meat Secretariat, put the spotlight on critical topics relevant to animal farming today, and underscored the vital importance of sustainability in animal farming on the international stage.

This marks a significant milestone in the journey towards greater awareness and understanding of animal welfare, as well as the efforts of the farming industry as a whole to promote good farming practices more widely. The next step is for the workshop participants to take what they have learned beyond the confines of the conference room, and to take the knowledge, ideas and best practices back to their home countries to inspire their colleagues to work towards achieving higher levels of animal well-being.

“Animal welfare and animal health work together. One cannot exist without the other,” explains Dirk Ehle, President of Bayer HealthCare Animal Health. “A lot of the work we do in the communities where we operate is carried out in partnership with organizations, such as the WFO. These partnerships are important as they help ensure that the initiative reaches the right people and that it benefits the community.”

Supporting farmers in caring for animals
Dirk Ehle, President of Bayer HealthCare Animal Health (right)
with Uwe Mucke, Head of Bayer HealthCare Animal Health in
Latin America, visit a swine farm in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Bayer’s commitment in the area of animal welfare and sustainable farming translates into many different outreach and educational initiatives, many of which are carried out in Latin America, where much of the world’s meat comes from. In Latin America, our colleagues recently completed a five-month educational course on animal welfare at the Cambridge Institute. Animal welfare is a topic we take seriously.

From talks and seminars, to workshops and farm visits, Bayer has partnered with organizations to educate thousands of farmers, veterinarians and students in Latin America on how the better care of animals contributes to better outcomes for farms and for the broader community. Each initiative is designed to engage the local community, and provides practical and relevant know-how on pertinent topics such as stockmanship, installations, disease control, parasite management, as well as nutrition and feeding.

The Bayer team helps farmers understand animal welfare principles, and how making the animal healthier – by understanding stress factors and possible pain points for the animals, and using methods that remove or reduce these stressors – is good for productivity, their business, and for the farming industry as a whole. The message they share with farmers is simple – “what is good for the animal, is good for the business.” Treat animals well. 

Innovating together for farm animal health
Bayer is also active in research and development (R&D) collaborations and partners with leading research institutes, universities think-tanks and laboratories around the world. As the fifth largest animal health company in the world and a global leader in parasiticides, we are committed to help prepare veterinarians and farmers for future animal health challenges, including parasitic, infectious, chronic, and zoonotic diseases. 

Bayer partners WSPA to conduct training on
Animal Welfare in San Pedro, Colombia.
“Our external research collaborations complement our own strong innovative edge that we enjoy from working closely with Bayer
CropScience and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, which enables us to take a life-sciences approach to R&D. In fact, we are the only animal health company that can leverage the best of plant, human and animal health towards developing new innovations to help keep animals and the people who care for them healthy,” added Ehle.

WFO's Livestock Workshop

We know we get the best results by working together, and we can all help farmers by collaborating across corporate, research and government sectors. There are many synergies and much that can be shared and learned through partnerships, and we look forward to more opportunities to partner across boundaries to help farmers achieve more and succeed, with healthier farm animals and sustainable farms.

This article was originally contributed by Janice Chow, Global Communications and Public Relations Manager, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health, to the World Farmers' Organisation's F@rmletter.