Veterinarian of the Year

The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) named Dr. Nigel Cook the 2019 Veterinarian of the Year.

Cook, BSc, BVSc, Cert. CHP, DBR, MRCVS, is head of the Department of Medical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (UW SVM). He teaches in the Core Skills and Advanced Skills in Production Medicine final year elective rotations and lectures on bovine mastitis, lameness and animal welfare. In addition, he manages the Dairyland Initiative, an online resource that offers virtual tours, building guidelines, benchmarks, workshops and real-time multilingual support to address concerns with facility design and dairy cow health and well-being.

“Dr. Cook is an advocate for the cows, the sustainability of agriculture and the allied industries, and the power of our profession in creating a positive image  of animals and the food products produced by the animals under our care,” says Dr. Sheila McGuirk, Professor Emerita of the UW SVM. “Through extensive research, clinical trials and on-farm observation, training, trouble shooting and collaborations, he has advanced the basic premises of productivity, longevity, health, welfare and responsible interventions on farms that are home to food-producing animals. He has been tireless in engaging alliances amongst veterinarians, dairy and animal scientists, engineers, allied industry professionals, agricultural companies and technologists to create and disseminate usable tools that measure, benchmark, calculate, and enhance health and welfare practices on the farm.”

A WVMA member since 2003, Dr. Cook is also a respected leader on the Food Armor Committee, a group tasked with developing the content and providing program support for the Food Armor Foundation’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Solutions program. Other organizations he has been involved with include the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Dairy Science Association and the National Mastitis Council.

Dr. Cook received his Bachelor of Veterinary Science with honors from the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science in England in 1992 and his Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Certificate in Cattle Health and Production in 1995. In 1998, he received his diploma in bovine reproduction from the University of Liverpool. Dr. Cook began his career in private practice in Wiltshire, England, and then went on to become a lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire, England, prior to coming to the United States.

Meritorious Service Award

Dr. Eric Rooker of Dairy Doctors Veterinary Services in Plymouth is the 2019 recipient of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) Meritorious Service Award. The award is given to a veterinarian in recognition of his or her service, commitment and contributions specifically to the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine.

Dr. Rooker is currently working with the WVMA to form a leadership and business program. With his vision and passion, the WVMA looks forward to leading the veterinary medical profession into the future.

Previously, Dr. Rooker served on the WVMA Convention Committee and played a vital role in helping the WVMA provide cutting-edge topics and speakers for attendees. He has also spoken to student members at Vets to Vet School talks and at Student Day, sharing his knowledge on how students can add value to themselves by finding their niche within a clinic.

Presidential Award

Dr. Douglas Kratt, of Onalaska, is the recipient of the 2019 Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) Presidential Award. The award is given to an individual or company who the president feels has gone above and beyond to help him and the WVMA.

“During my years as a district representative and president on the WVMA Executive Board, Dr. Kratt has been the AVMA delegate from Wisconsin, and most recently the president-elect for the AVMA. His leadership and passion for veterinary medicine has been an important part of these board meetings,” says Dr. Holter. “No matter what subject was being discussed, Dr. Kratt consistently had the WVMA and its veterinarians as the priority. He can be counted on to have a voice of reason and understanding during the board meetings and personally outside the board room.”

A University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine graduate, Dr. Kratt practices at Central Animal Hospital in Onalaska, a small animal veterinary hospital that he has owned since 1998.

Outstanding Service Award

Dr. Philip Johnson of Winneconne, Wisconsin, is the recipient of the 2019 Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes a WVMA member veterinarian’s significant contributions to the public through community activities. Dr. Johnson practices veterinary medicine at the Omro Animal Hospital.

An active member of the WVMA, Dr. Johnson is a past Legislative Committee Member, Executive Board Member and WVMA President. During his time on the Executive Board, Dr. Johnson promoted the continuing education requirement for veterinarians.

Dr. Johnson is also a past member and chair of the Wisconsin Veterinary Examining Board. In his local community, he organized and served as chairman of the Winneconne Booster Club annual golf outing to raise funds for the Winneconne School District and is a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, Winneconne Council.

“Dr. Johnson has shown true dedication to the veterinary profession over his many years of service,” says WVMA member Dr. Robert Forbes. “Much of this service has not only benefited the veterinary community but has strengthened the overall community throughout Wisconsin.”

Outstanding Service Team

The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) has named Country Hills Pet Hospital, of Eden, the 2019 WVMA Outstanding Service Team. The award honors a veterinary clinic or hospital team that is an excellent representative of the profession through active community involvement and service.

Country Hills Pet Hospital is a team-centered practice that offers high quality veterinary service to its community. In addition, it has been a resource for 4-H, scouts, shelters and school groups by providing tours, presentations and labs and donating services for shelter pets. The hospital also works with technical schools to help students meet externship and pre-requisite observation hour requirements.

Their community focus isn’t limited to the time spent in the facility. Country Hills Pet Hospital created a free community dog park; has given monetary donations to area schools, organizations and scholarship funds; and sponsors the K9 Unit for the Waupun Police Department. In addition, the hospital provides the Fond du Lac Humane Society with free or reduced cost neuters and spays and reduced cost rabies vaccinations. They have also donated 24 new dog runs to the Fond du Lac Humane Society’s capital campaign. The Country Hills Pet Hospital team was recently recognized by the American Animal Hospital Association as the 2018 Practice of the Year.

Veterinary Health Care Team Member of the Year

The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) has named Jim Martin the 2019 Veterinary Health Care Team Member of the Year. The award recognizes an individual whose technical skills, efficiency, client relations and community service exemplify the best of veterinary medicine in the state of Wisconsin.

Jim has more than 20 years of experience working at the Thiensville-Mequon Small Animal Clinic and it is evident that he has dedicated his life to the care and well-being of animals. As a customer service specialist at the clinic, Jim is always willing to help clients and fellow staff members. He’s described as the type of employee who is always one step ahead, trying to make the doctor’s job easier whenever possible. Outside of the clinic, Jim serves his community through his pet sitting services. Clients trust Jim to provide quality care for their pets in their absence.

Friend of Veterinary Medicine

Kristi Thorson is the 2019 recipient of the WVMA Friend of Veterinary Medicine Award. This award is given to a non-veterinarian who has demonstrated outstanding support for veterinary medicine or organized veterinary medicine in Wisconsin.

Described as a champion for students, alumni and the veterinary medical community and a tireless advocate for veterinary medicine, the UW School of Veterinary Medicine and the WVMA, Kristi is always a cheerful presence at veterinary school functions.

Kristi first came to the School of Veterinary Medicine to serve as Alumni Relations Director. In that role, she organized annual alumni reunions, alumni receptions at national meetings and significantly enhanced the engagement of alumni with the School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2012, Kristi was hired as the Associate Dean for Advancement and Administration at the school. Through
that position, she has met with a wide variety of constituents in the agricultural community and companion animal community, and from corporations who support the veterinary medical profession.

Working with the WVMA, legislators and constituents from around the state, Kristi was instrumental in helping get the school’s expansion project approved.

50-Year Member Awards

The following veterinarians were recognized for their service to the veterinary medical profession and for being loyal members of the WVMA for 50 years.

Dr. Larry Mahr

Dr. Larry Mahr is a 1966 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. His career began with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. He went on to practice at the Eden and Fond du Lac mixed animal practice until 1970, when he founded the Oregon Veterinary Medical Clinic in Oregon, Wisconsin. In 1999 he co-founded Country View Veterinary Service, a mixed animal practice also located in Oregon, and later became an Emeritus employee of Country View Equine Clinic. Dr. Mahr retired earlier this year.

Throughout his career, Dr. Mahr was active in the Dane County VMA, the Rock Valley VMA and the WVMA, and is a past president of all three organizations. In addition, he is a past member and chair of the Wisconsin Veterinary Examining Board and a charter member of the Wisconsin Academy of Veterinary Practitioners. He continues to hold memberships with the WVMA, the Wisconsin Equine Practitioners Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Mahr and his wife, Barbara, reside in Oregon where he continues to be an active member of his community.

Dr. Loyal Monson

Dr. Monson, of Plum City, is a 1969 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. He began his career practicing at Plum City Veterinary Service. In 1972, he left that practice to become a solo dairy  practitioner, and did so until retiring in 2010. Dr. Monson found his career to be rewarding, and said he is proud to have played a role in saving and prolonging the lives of many dairy cows. Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. Monson is a member of the American Legion Post #365.

Dr. Ralph Stauffacher

Dr. Ralph Stauffacher is a 1969 graduate of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, he spent a couple years practicing at a mixed animal practice in Columbus, Wisconsin. From 1971 until he retired in 2006, Dr. Stauffacher was the veterinarian for the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He did many rumen cannulas for research during his time there, and even developed his own method which brought veterinarians from other countries to learn from him. Dr. Stauffacher
and his wife, Linda, reside in Sun Prairie. Outside of veterinary medicine, he has been involved with his church board and Habitat for Humanity.